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3 S&P Outperformers…That Aren’t Oil Companies

These are three non-energy names that have quietly risen to the top among an oily field of S&P leaders.

This story originally appeared on MarketBeat

Nowadays, finding an outperforming stock that isn't in the oil industry is like, well, drilling for oil. contributor/ - MarketBeat

The escalation of the Russia-Ukraine crisis has heated already hot WTI crude prices sending them soaring towards $100. As a result, the gap between the year-to-date performance of the energy sector and everything else has widened. Just two months into the year, the technology sector now lags energy by more than 30%.

That naturally means most of the S&P 500's best 2022 performers are oil and gas companies. Fifteen of the benchmark's top 20 returns are from oil producers, equipment providers, or servicers.

This dominance has overshadowed companies that don't make a living on the world's oilfields—and yet are still doing quite well. These are three non-energy names that have quietly risen to the top among an oily field of S&P leaders.

Is Mosaic Stock Undervalued?

The Mosaic Co. (NYSE:MOS) is the only company tucked in the top 10 of S&P 500 year-to-date-performers that doesn't participate in the oil industry. Up 28% so far, it does however participate in an industry that is seeing a similarly sharp rise in prices—agriculture.

As one of the world's leading phosphate and potash producers, Mosaic is benefiting from strong demand for fertilizers. The demand takes root in rising agricultural commodity prices that are spurring farmers to plant like it's going out of style after an extended drought of weak demand and pricing.

Last week Mosaic reported solid fourth-quarter results that capped off a year in which sales were up 42% and earnings grew almost sixfold. Higher selling prices for both phosphate and potash directly led to the huge margin expansions.

The outlook for this year is even brighter. Positive commodity price trends are expected to cultivate strong fertilizer demand well into 2022. Analysts forecast that EPS will climb well above $8.00 compared to $5.04 last year. So, with a forward P/E under 6x, expect Mosaic's share price to keep growing.

Is Discovery Stock a Good Streaming Play?

After declining in each of the last two years, Discovery, Inc. (NASDAQ: DISCA) is up 18% year-to-date. The diversified media group will be one to watch as cord-cutting progresses and demand for quality streaming TV content continues to increase.

As one of the underdogs of the streaming wars, Discovery has been frantically building its library of original and purchased entertainment in addition to its live event offerings. The result has been a reduced dependence on its 200-plus U.S. and international traditional television networks which include Animal Planet, Food Network, and Eurosport.

To stay relevant in the rapidly evolving media industry, Discovery has been invested heavily in its Discovery+ platform. Subscriber growth has thus far been commendable, but the effort is still very much in the early stages. This is good news for investors who still have a chance to get in at the ground floor.

Discovery recently joined forces with WarnerMedia to scale its content production. The combination has the potential to create a content juggernaut that could give the likes of Netflix and Disney+ a run for their money.

Last year was the investment year for Discovery. This year we will learn how the rollout of Discovery+ is going. Based on early subscriber trends and the rebound in the stock, the market may be starting to discover a new way to play the streaming space.

What is a Good Regional Bank Stock to Own?

The financial sector is the only other group in the green this year and M&T Bank Corp. (NYSE: MTB) has been one of the leaders. After advancing 21% in 2021, shares of the regional bank are up another 17% in 2022 with 10 months still to go. Appropriately People's United Financial, which M&T Bank agreed to acquire a year ago, is also up year-to-date by roughly the same percentage.

Aside from the cost synergies expected from the People's United integration, M&T's bottom line performance is expected to benefit from a rising interest rate environment. Although the Russia-Ukraine war has potentially hit the brakes on immediate Fed rate hikes, over time the central bank is positioned to raise rates to cool inflation in a fast recovering economy.

As rates go up, M&T will have a much larger footprint at its disposal from which to generate higher income from loans and other financial products. People's United will increase the bank's branch count to 1,135 and make it the second largest network in the Northeast after behemoth Bank of America.

M&T is classified as a regional bank but will soon operate more like a major bank than ever before. Considering it has successfully completed two dozen acquisitions over the last 35 years, there's a good chance it will gain from its latest acquisition . As it does, and rates creep higher, look for M&T shares to gain as well.

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