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Crude's going higher, time to buy oil stocks, strategist says

Merrill upgrades oil stocks: Time to buy?

Oil prices are ultimately going to trade up to the $60 to $65 level, and that means it's a good time to buy some oil stocks, strategist David Katz said Thursday.

"You're getting a good yield in a number of these companies. They're cheap relative to their earnings and they're very cheap relative to their price-to-book value," the chief investment officer for Matrix Asset Advisors said in an interview with CNBC's "Closing Bell."

Earlier this week, Bank of America Merrill Lynch told clients to buy energy stocks, predicting the price of oil could jump to $69 per barrel by next June.

Katz believes supply and demand are moving toward being in balance in the upcoming year, and cautioned that if investors wait until oil hits $65, the energy stocks will have already moved a lot.

Alain Le Garsmeur | Getty Images

He specifically likes ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Occidental Petroleum, which have yields between 2.5 percent and 7 percent. For a more speculative play, he suggest ConocoPhillips, which has performed poorly relative to the overall energy group. While it cut its dividend earlier this year, its assets and earning power are worth a lot, he said.

However, D.R. Barton, chief technical analyst for, doesn't think now is the time to put new money to work in oil stocks.

That's because he thinks there could be another "substantial pullback" in crude prices.

While OPEC may revive talks on freezing output levels, even if it does so, "Saudi just had their highest production month ever, so they're freezing it right at the top of production levels," he told "Closing Bell."

"I really don't see any new demand coming along — actually the opposite — over the next six to 12 months that helps prices to get higher."

U.S. crude soared 3 percent Thursday, settling at $48.22, its highest level since July 1.

Both U.S. crude and Brent have risen more than 20 percent from lows in early August.

CNBC's Stephen Desaulniers and Reuters contributed to this report.

Disclosure: Matrix clients and Katz own XOM, OXY, RDSB, COP, DVN