The commodities market was in for yet another volatile quarter in 2015, with economic and geopolitical issues weighing heavily on the asset class.
Though the steep decline in crude oil prices dominated commodity headlines, there were some commodity producer stocks that managed to end in positive territory for the quarter. Other companies, however, did not fare as well.
Be sure to also read Silver Takes the Lead for 2015.
Below, we highlight the five best and five worst commodity stocks from the first quarter of 2015; please note this only includes firms operating in the Basic Materials and Oil and Gas sectors with a market cap over $10 billion (all YTD returns as of 3/30/2015):
Best Performing Commodity Stocks
Some of the best-performing commodity-producer stocks were surprisingly three energy-related firms: Valero Energy (VLO), Tesoro Petroleum (TSO), and Concho Resources (CXO). These stocks managed log in impressive returns despite stiff downward pressure across oil-related assets. Fertilizer and agribusiness company Agrium (AGU) and gold-miner Newmont Mining (NEM) also managed to post large gains for the quarter.
Be sure to also read A Bright Spot in Energy – Solar.
Worst Performing Commodity Stocks
While some energy companies managed to end the quarter in positive territory, others did not fare as well including China Petroleum & Chemical (SNP), Schlumberger (SLB), and Devon Energy (DVN). These losers are not however surprising, given the sell-off in crude. Basic materials giant E.I. Du Pont (DD) fell over 1.6% during the quarter, despite having beat earnings estimates last quarter (revenues however, were reported lower). Goldcorp (GG) also ended in the red for the quarter, even though some of its competitors managed to eke out small gains.
The Bottom Line
The commodity producer sector has experienced some significant volatility within the last year, though some companies have managed to log in impressive returns. In Q1, a strengthening dollar, low oil prices, diverging monetary policy, and geopolitical tensions all played a role in commodity markets. For the next quarter, however, investors should look for beaten commodity producers to reverse their course, although only time will tell which corners of the commodity market are most poised to rebound.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.