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A Top-Rated Macro Theme Stock for 2010

January 14, 2010 – by Richard Band

With the stock market indexes now far above their March 2009 lows, many individual issues and whole industry groups are approaching what may prove to be their ceiling prices for the next six months, at least, and perhaps for the next several years.

That means now is the time to recycle your capital into new investments that will reward you with faster appreciation, more dividend income or both. (Read “5 Smart Investing Strategies for 2010” for more money-making ideas.)

Your best bets? Businesses that are not only well managed, soundly financed and attractively valued, but also propelled by overwhelming macroeconomic forces.

And this top-rated stock is a perfect example…

It’s becoming more and more apparent that the era of cheap oil and gas is gone forever. Crude oil has doubled from its December 2008 low — despite a halting, tentative economic recovery. Natural gas has also doubled from its September 2009 bottom. Coming out of the last recession in 2002, we were paying $20 a barrel for oil. Today, black gold is around $80.

My top pick in the energy sector is Utah-based Questar (STR), an integrated natural gas producer that also operates 3,000 miles of wholesale pipelines and a local gas-distribution utility serving three western states.

Typically, STR generates about 70% of its cash flow from exploration and production of gas (and a little oil). All the company’s assets are located within the continental United States. The company says it’s planning to increase production 15% in the New Year. That, together with firming prices, should pop the bottom line.

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