The nine-year-old bull market in U.S. stocks has been dominated by growth and momentum plays, such as the popular FAANG group of stocks. These momentum stocks have significantly outperformed value stocks, and Oppenheimer analyst Ari Wald says there’s no reason for investors to be fearful of momentum stocks just because stock prices are near all-time highs. After nine years, a certain degree of caution is understandable, but Wald says price action has remained bullish. Wald and the Oppenheimer analyst team recently selected the best momentum stock to buy in each of nine different market sectors.
Wald says refiners are the best group within the energy sector, and Marathon Petroleum has significant long-term momentum following a breakout above $60 in late 2017. In addition to its positive momentum, Marathon recently raised its dividend by 15 percent and now yields about 2.1 percent. Even at its current payout, the stock’s relatively low 21 percent payout ratio suggests more hikes could be on the way in the near future. Marathon also recently diversified away from its Gulf-Coast-centric operations by acquiring Andeavor (ANDV) and its West Coast and Rocky Mountains assets for $23 billion.
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Few professional investment managers make use of momentum investing, believing that individual stock picking based on an analysis of discounted cash flows and other fundamental factors tends to produce more predictable results, and is a better means of beating index performance over the long term. "As an investment strategy, it’s a thumb in the eye of the 'efficient market hypothesis' (EMH), one of the central tenets of modern finance," to quote a UCLA Anderson Review article, "Momentum Investing: It Works, But Why?" published on Oct. 31, 2018.