2 Energy Stocks That Could Hit New Highs Next Month

ATO and SRE stocks tend to outperform in the month of March

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Feb 27, 2019 at 1:59 PM

Oil prices are higher this afternoon, after U.S. crude and gasoline inventories declined last week. Meanwhile, a pair of energy stocks could muscle even higher in the next few weeks, if recent history is any indicator. Specifically, both Atmos Energy Corporation (NYSE:ATO) and Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE) stocks tend to thrive in the month of March, ending higher 100% of the time over the past 10 years.

In fact, there are only four S&P 500 Index (SPX) stocks that boast a 100% win rate in March over the past decade (considering only stocks with at least eight years' worth of returns), and ATO and SRE make up half, putting them near the top of the list of best stocks to own next month. Atmos Energy shares have averaged a healthy gain of 4.4%, while Sempra Energy shares have gained 3.05%, on average, in March, per data from Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White.

ATO has been in a steady channel of higher highs and lows since the March 2009 bottom. More recently, the stock has jumped more than 12% since its late-December lows near $88 -- a pullback that was contained by ATO's 320-day moving average. The equity was last seen 0.6% higher on the day at $98.88 -- within striking distance of their Nov. 2 all-time high of $100.76. Another 4.4% gain from current levels would put the stock north of the century mark and into uncharted territory.

ATO stock chart feb 27 2

SRE has been in a channel of higher lows since early 2016, but the stock has more recently struggled to surmount the $118-$120 area. Today, however, the security is up 2.1% at $121.33 -- on pace for its highest close since late 2017 -- extending yesterday's post-earnings momentum. Another 3.05% boost from here would put SRE around $125.

SRE stock chart feb 27

Sempra Energy stock could also be propelled higher by an extended short squeeze. Short interest dropped 10% in the past two reporting periods, but still accounts for a healthy 8.4% of SRE's total available float. At the stock's average pace of trading, it would take the remaining shorts nearly 13 sessions to buy back their bearish bets.

Meanwhile, both Atmos and Sempra stocks sport attractively priced short-term options, for traders looking to speculate on the securities' near-term trajectory. The Schaeffer's Volatility Indexes (SVI) for ATO and SRE are both 14%, in the 17th and 14th percentiles of their respective annual ranges.


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