Why you should just buy and forget BP plc and Royal Dutch Shell plc

Dave Sullivan poses a question about BP plc (LON: BP) and Royal Dutch Shell plc (LON: RDSB).

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The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

There’s no shortage of news coverage, market commentary and plain speculation doing the rounds in relation to shares. Indeed, investors are subjected to this on a daily basis, whether that be broker upgrades or downgrades, newspaper or investment magazine tips, or simply an article such as this.

Some of the most covered companies, as one would expect are part of the blue chip index, and few companies are covered (particularly of late given the ups and downs in the price of oil) as much as FTSE 100 oil and gas giants BP (LSE: BP) and Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDSB).

Opportunity knocks?

As we can see from the chart below, rather unsurprisingly, the shares have underperformed the wider market over the last 12 months as the price of oil spiralled downwards, hitting an apparent bottom with the price of Brent crude falling to sub-$28 a barrel at one point in January this year, its lowest since 2003.

However, since then the price has been edging up for some time, and for now seems to be settling under $50 per barrel of Brent crude as concerns around the oversupply in the market seemed to have eased, pushing the price of the black stuff upwards. However, whether it will breach $50 remains to be seen. Indeed, the last thing the market needs is refreshed concerns that the oversupply issue is returning as producers begin to bring mothballed operations back online.

Nonetheless, even if (like me) you weren’t brave enough to buy Royal Dutch Shell and BP in January at yields approaching 10%, given the higher oil price and the shares still being well off of their highs, perhaps now could be a good time to allocate part of your portfolio to include these shares.

And now for something completely different

Despite the possibility of the shares offering good value at these prices, and despite the price of oil seeming to stabilise, even if it is below $50, I felt that it was worth actually posing a question to myself: Should we simply buy both of these shares and just forget about them?

Now believe it or not, this rather simplistic approach is actually one of the hardest aspects of investing for investors to get right and is something that I’ve struggled with before. While trading can, in the short term save you some pain, all too often it will cost you dear as Mr Market plays with your emotions.

But in the case of Shell and BP, two companies that have been around the block a few times, this tactic should be easier – you see for years these companies have been operating through many booms and busts – paying dividends as they go along.

Indeed, Shell hasn’t cut its dividend since the Second World War, while BP has recovered from one of the most devastating deep-water accidents in recent times – an event that would have sunk most companies out there.

And currently, both shares yield in excess of 7%, meaning investors can sit back, relax and let the income roll in.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be considered so you should consider taking independent financial advice.

Dave Sullivan has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended BP and Royal Dutch Shell B. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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