Looking ahead a year is always difficult. Predictions made now are unlikely to accurately reflect the situation 12 months from now. That is even more true in today’s highly volatile markets. That said, Blackrock’s (NYSE:BLK) chief investment officer for U.S. equities, Tony DeSpirito, is bullish on the energy sector. He believes that, because the sector’s earnings growth has outpaced the gains of its share price, it should have a strong year in 2023. So big oil firms, along with other energy plays, should do well in 2023. With that in mind, here are my top energy stock picks for 2023.
|VWDRY||Vestas Wind Systems||$8.75|
Chevron (NYSE:CVX) stock had a stellar year in 2022. In 2023, the company may very well generate lower earnings if analysts’ expectations for the sector play out. But that doesn’t mean CVX stock can’t continue to reward investors. Because regardless of the energy market dynamics in 2023, Chevron will continue to be, at worst, a great dividend stock.
I believe that Chevron’s share price could stabilize in 2023 because, although energy prices probably won’t go up much above their current levels, they shouldn’t drop a great deal either.
Meanwhile, expect CVX to continue to reward investors. In Q3, the firm reported earnings of $11.2 billion. It distributed $6.5 billion of those funds back to shareholders.
So Chevron will undoubtedly continue to pay a high dividend in 2023. Right now, the company’s payout ratio is a low 0.32. That indicates that the firm should be able to continue to pay its dividend without any issues.
Further, Chevron hasn’t reduced its dividend since 1988. Relying on Chevron’s dividend for profits is the worst-case scenario for the stock in 2023. That’s arguably a strong worst-case scenario.
Exxon Mobil (XOM)
Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) is another oil major whose stock is worth buying. Exxon, however, is going to have a difficult time beating its 2022 performance.
During Q3, the company achieved its best-ever refining volumes throughout North America and its highest globally since 2008. A significant portion of that record production came from the Permian Basin, where the firm produced 560,000 barrels of oil per day, representing its highest production ever.
Investors should note that Exxon’s share prices don’t tend to correlate particularly well with its earnings. Through the first nine months of 2021, Exxon Mobil reported $14.17 billion of net earnings. Its shares traded around $60 at the end of 2021. XOM stock is currently trading at $107 after its earnings more than tripled in the first nine months of this year to $42.99 billion.
The point is that XOM stock can remain high in 2023 even if Exxon’s dynamics aren’t as favorable as they are now. The company’s dividend will help keep its price elevated, and the company’s payout ratio hasn’t been reduced since 1983.
I also like the firm’s ability to grow its investments by an annual average of more than 5.5% historically, as measured by its returns and capital costs. The company creates value across changing market conditions.
Kinder Morgan (KMI)
Next year should be an interesting one for Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI), as we will see how the company deals with difficult issues, such as dividends, renewables, and potentially weakening demand for refining.
Kinder Morgan is a midstream energy infrastructure firm that operates more than 83,000 miles of pipeline, 141 terminals, and a massive amount of storage storage. There are some indications that Kinder Morgan’s top and bottom lines may not rise or fall much next year.
For example, global refining capacity isn’t expected to increase in 2023. As a result, Kinder Morgan’s throughput and storage demand may stagnate, weighing on its share price.
But if Kinder Morgan’s stock falls, investors should buy its shares because it will have become an excellent dividend stock due to its high dividend yield. That yield is already above 5.8%., and its dividend probably won’t be reduced in 2023 after the huge profits that the firm generated in 2022.
Further, the company is bringing renewable diesel projects online beginning in late 2022 which should make it more interesting as a renewables play.
Devon Energy (DVN)
Analysts’ average price target calls for Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) stock to climb roughly 20% over the coming 12-18 months. That’s encouraging, but investors should be equally interested in the company’s dividend.
Devon Energy is a large oil producer with a significant presence in the Delaware basin that stretches from West Texas into New Mexico. The company offers a unique fixed-plus-variable dividend which it instituted in May of 2021.
The fixed-plus-variable dividend pays a sustainable, fixed dividend and a variable dividend that is calculated and distributed from its excess free cash flow. Once its fixed dividend is funded, the company can then award up to 50% of its remaining free cash flow in the form of a variable dividend.
The company’s dividend increased by 61% this year, reaching $1.35 per share. Since Devon is expected to generate record cash flow through the end of 2022, now is the time to invest in DVN stock to take advantage of its dividend.
ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) is yet another of my energy stock picks for 2023. Like almost every other oil firm, it has done very well in 2022, as its net income nearly doubled in Q3, reaching $4.527 billion. Through the first nine months of 2022, its net income nearly tripled, coming in at $15.431 billion.
For investors, the good news is that ConocoPhillips is returning its wealth to them. In fact, the company just increased its dividend by 11%, to 51 cents per share. On top of that, COP stock has roughly another $20 to go until it reaches analysts’ average prices target. So, despite the shares’ very strong year, they can still advance further.
Part of the reason that the company’s price can continue to rise is the fact that it is much more cash-rich now than it was a year ago. Specifically, it now has $8 billion of cash on hand, a roughly $3 billion increase over the same period a year ago.
That means ConocoPhillips can withstand whatever 2023 brings. That’s true of all the oil majors on this list and is part of what continues to make them good energy stock picks for 2023.
Vestas Wind Systems (VWDRY)
Vestas Wind Systems (OTCMKTS:VWDRY) is an exemplary wind energy company, and VWDRY stock is a great energy stock pick for 2023. Investors are well aware that the energy production landscape is changing and will favor clean-energy sources over the coming decades.
In fact, 10.2% of electricity produced in the U.S. is generated from wind, according to American Clean Power, a “federation of renewable energy companies.” That makes wind energy the largest source of renewable energy. Moreover, wind-power generation is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 18% between 2022 and 2030.
That puts Vestas, a Danish producer of wind-power turbines, in a strong position for 2023 and beyond. Further, Vestas’ stock trades below $9 but analysts’ average price target on it is above $48.
Its revenues declined 29% year-over-year last quarter. While that isn’t particularly encouraging, its turbine order backlog is valued at $18.1 billion euros and its services backlog sits at $32.8 billion euros. The company reported 3.9 billion euros of revenue this quarter, so it will be busy for a long time to come.
Array Technologies (ARRY)
Array Technologies (NASDAQ:ARRY) has expanded rapidly in 2022 through acquisitions. As a result, its fundamentals have greatly improved and investing in the solar array maker is worthwhile.
Array Technologies completed the acquisition of STI Norland in January, drastically improving its financial standing. Array’s revenues climbed to $515 million in Q3, up from the $188.7 million of sales that it generated during the same period a year earlier.
The firm’s acquisition of STI has taken Array Technologies from a company that lost $27.56 million a year ago, to one that posted $40.82 million of net income for Q3.
The positive news for investors is that analysts’ average price target on ARRY stock is $5 above its current price.
The solar market is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years That alone makes Array Technologies exciting. Add in its acquisition and turnaround, and ARRY stock is particularly intriguing.
On the date of publication, Alex Sirois did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.