Energy stocks have been on fire this year. Thanks to the best quarter for oil prices in a decade, the average energy stock is up more than 15% so far in 2019, as measured by the performance of the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF. Because of that, energy stocks aren't the bargain they were at the beginning of the year.
But despite that rally, energy stocks remain attractive, especially those of midstream companies. Four that I'd buy right now, even after their surge this year, are Kinder Morgan (KMI 0.38%), Enterprise Products Partners (EPD 0.02%), Enbridge (ENB 0.20%), and Crestwood Equity Partners (CEQP 0.01%). Here's why.
Still cheap despite the surge
Shares of Kinder Morgan have been scorching hot this year, up nearly 30%. While Wall Street's enthusiasm for the natural gas pipeline giant has cooled off following the stock-price rally, I still think the stock is worth buying. For starters, shares currently trade at less than $20 apiece, which implies that they sell for about nine times cash flow. That's dirt cheap since most peers trade at a mid-teens multiple. On top of that, the company pays a rock-solid dividend that currently yields 4%, which management expects to increase by 25% this year and next. Kinder Morgan has several expansion projects under construction and more in development, which should fuel steady growth for the next few years. That combination of income and growth could help drive market-beating total returns, especially as the company's valuation improves and approaches the peer-group average.
A $2 billion bet on itself
Enterprise Products Partners has rebounded more than 20% so far this year. Even so, units of the master limited partnership (MLP) still sell for a good value at less than 11 times cash flow. That's one reason why the company authorized a $2 billion buyback earlier in the year. The MLP also pays an attractive dividend that yields 5.9%. Meanwhile, it has several needle-moving growth projects under construction and more in development. Those expansions should enable Enterprise Products Partners to continue growing both cash flow and its dividend for the next several years. Those dual forces, when combined with the buyback authorization, could enable the company to generate market-beating total returns.
A fast-growing high yield
Canadian energy infrastructure giant Enbridge has bounced back by nearly 19% year to date, yet its shares remain attractive at slightly more than 11 times cash flow. Adding to Enbridge's appeal is its 6%-yielding dividend, which the company expects to increase by another 10% next year, supported by double-digit cash flow growth. And Enbridge believes that it can continue expanding cash flow at a healthy rate beyond 2020. The company estimates that it will have the financial capacity to support enough expansions to grow cash flow at a 5% to 7% annual rate after next year. This outlook suggests the company could increase its dividend at a similar yearly pace. That dividend growth alone could make Enbridge a market-beating stock.
Crestwood Equity Partners has continued its torrid run in 2019. The MLP is already up 29% this year, which follows on the heels of its peer-leading performance in 2018. However, even with the surge, units of the MLP remain attractive at less than 10 times cash flow. That's a ridiculously low price for a company that's on track to grow cash flow at a compound annual rate of more than 15% through next year -- the fastest pace in its peer group. Add in its 6.7% yield, and Crestwood could continue generating market-smashing total returns from here. That's why I just boosted my position in the high-yielding MLP.
High yields and healthy growth rates for a good price
These four energy midstream companies have rebounded sharply this year. However, each remains an attractive value, especially when factoring in the growth prospects. Add in their high-yielding payouts, and these energy companies should have the fuel to generate double-digit total annual returns. That's why I'd buy any one of them right now.