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Senator Murkowski and 20/20 Energy: How Energy Policy Can Impact Stocks: Valero Energy Corporation (VLO) and More

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In The Washington Post there is an interview with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) regarding her plan for energy policy in the future, “20/20: A Vision for America’s Energy Future.” (Warning:PDF) It’s an interesting document and the senator appears to be on the offensive with it.

As Murkowski says, the plan is not designed to be a one-time, comprehensive energy policy but is instead designed to implement small steps (singles and doubles, as she calls them) to move the United States toward a more sensible energy policy. She supports the development of nuclear power, the Keystone XL pipeline, enhanced coal and liquid natural gas exports and the economic development of regions of Alaska currently off limits.

Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO)Some of these, perhaps all of them, will face significant political opposition from interests on both the left and the right. Honestly, that’s the most encouraging sign there could be. If one can get extremists on both sides mad, then a plan is truly workable, in my former-political-reporter opinion. From a market perspective, and depending on which parts of the plan get introduced in what order, there will be some stock gains to be had. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO)

Anything that moves approval of the entire Keystone XL pipeline forward is going to benefit Valero enormously. Not only does the company have an option to buy a good piece of the pipeline but a big chunk of the oil that moves through it will end up in the company’s refineries. Best of both worlds should it come true. Heck, I’m already on record as thinking it will. This is an energy company that’s been on the way up, climbing $24.81 to $46.13 in the last year and raising its dividend 20% in that time. Heck, it’s gained more than 30% in the last month. T. Boone Pickens has it as one of his top holdings and you should think hard about it, too.

Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A)

Even though it has not had a good run in the news lately, I’m including Royal Dutch Shell on this list. Why? Because the company is already well-established with a mining presence in Alaska and off the Alaskan coast. It is well-positioned to take advantage of the opening up of further oil leasing rights in the far north, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The firm’s stock has taken a beating lately as the bad news had piled up. It’s been as high as $74.09 this year and as low as $60.62 and sits in the middle right now. Still, I’m cautiously optimistic on it. And that dividend is an enormous 5.10% yield. Keep this one in your back pocket and spend some money if you have some with nothing better to do.

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