Hedge Funds Love These Energy Dividend Stocks

Rising interest rates are generally accompanied by strong economic growth, but a potential increase in interest rates could eventually affect the slow-growth stocks that generate returns primarily through dividends and interest. A September Fed interest rate hike seemed almost inevitable until a few week ago, when China’s economic slowdown caused a plunge in the global stock markets. Furthermore, a wide range of variables have an effect on companies’ values and their dividend payouts. However, one of the key factors that has a direct impact on most energy companies’ valuations and dividends is the price of oil. The S&P 500 Energy Index is down by over 18% year-to-date, which has made most investors and traders worried about oil companies and the sustainability of their dividends. Even so, we identified five energy dividend stocks that hedge funds had a great deal of money invested in during the second quarter and prepared a list by their popularity among the funds we track at Insider Monkey.

Penn Virginia SLB

Most investors don’t understand hedge funds and indicators that are based on hedge funds’ activities. They ignore hedge funds because of their recent poor performance in the bull market. Our research indicates that hedge funds underperformed because they aren’t 100% long. Hedge fund fees are also very large compared to the returns generated and they reduce the net returns experienced by investors. We uncovered that hedge funds’ long positions actually outperformed the market. For instance the 15 most popular small-cap stocks among funds beat the S&P 500 Index by more than 60 percentage points since the end of August 2012. These stocks returned a cumulative of 118% vs. a 57.6% gain for the S&P 500 Index (read the details). That’s why we believe investors should pay attention to what hedge funds are buying (rather than what their net returns are).

5. Noble Corporation plc (NYSE:NE)

Investors with Long Positions (as of June 30): 27

Aggregate Value of Investors’ Holdings (as of June 30): $258.90 Million

There are five hedge funds within our database that added Noble Corporation plc (NYSE:NE) to their portfolios during the second quarter. By the same token, the value of the shares held by the hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey increased from $159.96 million. The offshore drilling contractor for the oil and gas industry pays out a quarterly cash dividend of $0.375 per share, which provides a current annualized dividend yield of 12.11%. It’s worth mentioning that the shares of Noble Corporation gained 3.47% during the trading session on Friday amid higher oil prices, and are now down slightly over 22% year-to-date. The price of crude oil was on the rise towards the end of the week following positive U.S. economic data and reports indicating low crude oil supply in Nigeria. Steven Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management initiated a 3.87 million-share position in Noble Corporation plc (NYSE:NE) during the second quarter, allowing it to take the spot of the largest equity holder in the company within our database.

4. BP p.l.c. (NYSE:BP)

Investors with Long Positions (as of June 30): 33

Aggregate Value of Investors’ Holdings (as of June 30): $1.12 Billion

BP p.l.c. (NYSE:BP), an integrated oil and gas company, has paid a quarterly cash dividend of $0.60 per share for the past four quarters, which implies a current dividend yield of 7.27%. 37 hedge funds within our database owned stakes in the company at the end of the first quarter, whereas the value of the stakes on June 30 decreased from $1.18 billion over the quarter. The stock has lost more than 12% year-to-date, but achieved a quick rebound at the end of the week after the aforementioned crude oil price upswing. Oil prices had dropped to six-year lows earlier in the week, impacted by the worries around China’s economy, which is the second-largest oil consumer in the world. Pzena Investment Management, founded by Richard S. Pzena back in 1996, is by far the largest shareholder of BP p.l.c. (NYSE:BP) within our database, holding a stake of 11.37 million shares.