Oil stocks have taken a victory lap throughout 2022. Surging commodity prices are bolstering profits at a time when many companies are getting hit with inflation and softening demand. ExxonMobil (XOM 2.04%), Enbridge (ENB 1.04%), and Diamondback Energy (FANG 0.95%) each not only pay a dividend but have beaten the S&P 500 over the past year.
Fortunately for investors, these stocks also seem poised for another solid year in 2023. Here is why each company can be added to a diversified dividend portfolio with confidence.
1. The case for ExxonMobil
ExxonMobil is one of the world's largest oil and gas companies, making $386 billion in revenue over the past four quarters. The energy giant participates in various parts of the industry, including exploring for and extracting oil and gas, refining it, and selling it to the market. The company's massive size and different business segments have kept it financially stable through ups and downs in the oil and gas sector.
The S&P 500 member is a Dividend Aristocrat that's paid and raised its dividend for 40 consecutive years. But it hasn't been easy in recent years; the company is sensitive to commodity prices, and volatility in recent years has hurt business. ExxonMobil has cut back its spending to counter that issue, and the higher commodity prices you see today are helping ExxonMobil print cash.
The company's free cash flow has been $59 billion over the past year, assisting in retooling the balance sheet. ExxonMobil now has $30 billion in cash, enough to cancel out most of its $45 billion in long-term debt.
The good times could go on for a while longer. Analysts estimate that ExxonMobil will grow its earnings per share (EPS) by an average of 25% annually over the next three to five years. The company's role as a leader in oil and gas gives it broad exposure to the world's continued long-term energy needs. Investors can feel good owning the stock now that Exxon's recent success has repaired its financials.
2. The case for Enbridge
Enbridge plays an essential role in moving energy resources throughout North America. The Canadian company is a midstream energy business; its pipelines and storage facilities help transport fossil fuels from where they are extracted (mainly in Canada) to where they're needed across Canada and the U.S. You can think of pipeline stocks like a railroad -- they make money charging for the commodities that producers transport through their pipelines.
The company depends more on the amount of oil and gas it moves versus the market price of those commodities, so Enbridge has proven a stable company over the years. It's technically not a Dividend Aristocrat because it's not an S&P 500 member, but Enbridge functions like one -- it's raised its dividend for 27 years and counting. Investors also get a generous starting dividend yield at 6.6% today, the highest of these three stocks.
Enbridge isn't going to jump off the page with its growth as analysts are looking for just 6% annual EPS growth over the next three to five years. However, the company has an affordable dividend that consumes 76% of its operating profits, and the high starting yield makes Enbridge a boring but reliable business that investors can count on.
3. The case for Diamondback Energy
Diamondback Energy isn't a household name among investors, but this independent oil and gas company can offer a lot. It's headquartered in and focuses its operations on the Permian Basin in Texas. It could be the riskiest stock of the three because it's an upstream company that solely explores for and extracts oil and gas, so it's sensitive to commodity prices. It also doesn't have the long dividend track record of the other two names.
But the company seems positioned for success, making it a dividend stock worth considering today. The dividend yields 1.9%, far below the other two stocks in this article, but there's a lot of room for growth. Free cash flow has surged this year, totaling $3.2 billion over the past four quarters. The dividend payout ratio is just 39%, leaving a cushion in case the business stalls or management grows the payout.
Diamondback Energy could benefit from a potential increase in U.S. energy production. America's Strategic Petroleum Reserve is at its lowest since the 1980s and will probably need replenishing over the coming years. Meanwhile, new sanctions against Russian oil are going into effect soon. Curbing supply could boost prices if demand remains stable, which could be great for producers like Diamondback Energy. Analysts seem optimistic, calling for annual EPS growth averaging 22% over the next three to five years, giving Diamondback Energy the juice for more dividend growth.