It might be prudent for the larger energy companies to pretend they've become extinct and not report results for the September-ended quarter.
The group's already being targeted in some quarters for punitive treatment by the tax man, given that its members are benefiting from a nearly linear growth in crude prices that finally hit an inflection point and headed south in July. But with the average crude price for the September period more than 55% higher than in the September 2007 period, watch for earnings jumps that'll renew the call for windfall profits taxes.
And then there are the oilfield service players. Schlumberger
But despite their earnings growth, the energy names haven't received any kinder treatment by Mr. Market than have most other groups. The three big producers mentioned above have averaged price declines approaching 30% from their 52-week highs. And the two services stocks are down an average of, gulp, around 47% from their highs.
Oil prices are likely to stay high by historical norms, and long-term oil demand isn't going anywhere, so I'm inclined to suggest that Fools look for service sector names for a serious bounce back when the market turns.