Big Oil Stocks Seen as Safe Place to Be

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Big oil is "a great place to be right now" says Tina Vital, equity analyst with Standard and Poor's. "While oil prices have moved up, share of major oil companies haven't moved up in tandem," she said. "A lot of their valuations look pretty compelling."

With crude oil prices surging to new highs, Big Oil stocks are shaping up to be the safe investment for those wanting a piece of the action.

Shares of major oil companies are challenging the all-time highs they reached last July. But they are not seeing quite the highs suggested by the performance of their base commodity because of skepticism about the jump in oil prices and weak refining profits.

The more modest growth rates in Big Oil stock prices make the sector a defensive play for investors who are unsure about crude's record rise, allowing more room to run if oil continues upward but plenty of support if it drops.

"They are a great place to be right now," said Tina Vital, and equity analyst with Standard and Poor's.

But even if oil stays high, the companies will still likely benefit, she said.

"While oil prices have moved up, they haven't moved up in tandem," she said. "A lot of their valuations look pretty compelling."

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