Energy stocks are finally catching up to the rally in crude prices, a sign that investors are increasingly positive about the long-term prospects of oil companies. Accelerating global growth has increased demand for commodities, drawing down oil inventories and helping push oil prices to three-year highs. Meanwhile, a rout in oil prices from more than $100 a barrel to under $30 in early 2016 led to extensive cost cutting by producers, meaning they can now make more money at lower prices, investors say. Energy stocks are up about a fifth in the past six months, according to the MSCI World Energy Index. In the U.S., such stocks in the S&P 500 have returned 18.3% over that period, making them one of the index’s best-performing sectors. While oil and gas shares have broadly followed crude prices in those six months—West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude gauge, is up about 36%—it […]