By hoarding its cash as oil prices soared, the company has positioned itself to take advantage of the coming shakeout in the energy sector.
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By Jim Jubak (external - login to view) MSN Money
What company -- and what stock -- is the big winner from the plunge in oil prices from $148 a barrel in July to less than $43 a barrel on Dec. 19?
Hands down, the big winner is Exxon Mobil (XOM (external - login to view), news (external - login to view), msgs (external - login to view)). I can't find another company so well-positioned for this slowdown and so prepared to take advantage of the current turmoil to increase its profits in the future.
For most individuals and companies, falling oil prices are a mixed blessing. That's because what the slowing global economy giveth in the way of falling demand for oil and lower energy prices it taketh away in the form of slumping sales and plunging profits. Almost all of us, for instance, are paying less to fill up the tank or to heat a house, which is great as long as the recession hasn't cost us our jobs. Airlines, to take an example from the business sector, are glad to see their fuel costs plunge, but they aren't exactly ecstatic about slumping passenger miles.
You'd think that in the energy sector, at least, it would be easy to pick the losers. Just throw a dart at the oil patch. Every oil and gas company has seen revenue fall along with commodity prices