Energy: Natural Gas 2008
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Energy: Natural Gas 2008

Ronald Barone, who finishes on top for a second straight year, “has probably forgotten more about the ­natural-gas industry than ­many analysts will ever know,” avers one fan.

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Ronald Barone


Ronald Barone UBS


SECOND TEAM


Faisel Khan Citi


THIRD TEAM


Richard Gross Barclays


Ronald Barone, who finishes on top for a second straight year, “has probably forgotten more about the ­natural-gas industry than ­many analysts will ever know,” avers one fan. In March the 65-year-old UBS analyst upgraded Sempra Energy, at $50.71, anticipating strong earnings growth at the San ­Diego–based ­natural-­gas distributor. Shares had risen to $58.17 by mid-­September, a gain of 14.7 percent that handily outpaced the sector’s 8.2 percent loss. ­“He’s got his finger on the pulse of the macro issues driving the commodities,” says one investor. In second place for a second year running is Faisel Khan of ­Citi, described by one ­money man­ager as “an exceptional analyst who is adept at explaining his investment thesis on a detailed level.” Khan’s top picks of the past year include Southwest Gas Corp., recommended in March, at $24.81, on improved earnings. The Las ­Vegas–based distributor’s shares had zoomed 24.4 percent by mid-­September. Richard Gross, with Barclays Capital since its parent acquired Lehman Brothers last month, finishes in third place for a third consecutive year. “He is a must-speak-with person for anyone who invests in this space,” declares one supporter. Gross down­graded Houston-­based liquefied-­natural-­gas importer Cheniere Energy to sell in April, at $20.66, after a disappointing quarterly earnings report and plummeting demand. By mid-­September the share price had plunged 86.1 percent, to $2.87.


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