As 2011 comes to a close, it's a great time to look back at what happened to the stocks that interest you. By making sure you know the important things that a company accomplished -- as well as the setbacks it experienced -- you can make a better decision about whether it's a smart investment for your portfolio.

Today, let's take a look at ExxonMobil (NYS: XOM) . The largest stock in the U.S. market rode high oil prices to another banner year, with truly massive revenue of more than $100 billion every quarter. But with a huge array of smaller companies to bet on, is Big Oil still worth your investment dollars? Below, I'll take a closer look at the events that moved shares of ExxonMobil this year.

Stats on ExxonMobil

2011 YTD Return 19.3%
Market Cap $408 billion
1-Year Revenue Growth 28.4%
1-Year Earnings Growth 50.1%
Dividend Yield 2.2%
CAPS Rating (out of 5) ****

Sources: S&P Capital IQ; Motley Fool CAPS.

Why did ExxonMobil do well this year?
As energy goes, so goes Exxon. That's a simple rule that's even more apt after the company bought XTO Energy last year to become the largest natural gas producer in the country, beating out Chesapeake Energy (NYS: CHK) and other companies known more for their gas exposure. Like fellow giant Chevron (NYS: CVX) , Exxon has been pushing for broad-based energy dominance.

But to do so, Exxon operates in some risky parts of the world. In Russia, it agreed to a joint venture with Russian state oil company Rosneft, despite concerns that arose after Royal Dutch Shell (NYS: RDS.A) ended up having to give up control of its Sakhalin project to Russian gas giant Gazprom five years ago. Exxon also plans to make huge capital investments in Iraq, where competitors like Eni (NYS: E) and BP (NYS: BP) are trying to take advantage of war-ravaged oil fields that need renovation. In Venezuela, after suffering alongside Total (NYS: TOT) when Hugo Chavez nationalized the oil industry, Exxon is still negotiating to try to get at least some compensation for the assets that the dictator took.

Exxon may not have the growth potential that tiny exploration companies offer. But it also comes with a lot more stability and security. Conservative investors have to be pleased about another healthy year for Big Oil's biggest player.

Still, if you want a more exciting stock in your portfolio, we've got another energy company you should look at closely. Read about it right here in the Motley Fool's special free report on the energy industry and its best prospects. But don't wait until it's gone -- get it today.

Click here to add ExxonMobil to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Chesapeake Energy, Chevron, and Total. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2011 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Home construction or remodelers can weatherstrip homes more extensively than presently. There is many additional places to weatherstrip but they are in a hurry to finish up construction or remodeling Customers are stuck with cold drafts for years .. I had made some discoveries where they overlook.. It is serious!! Energy is not a funny business to invest for some nice return.. Energy costs is something to avoid .. Our economy cannot grow with high energy costs.. Only the high income people can afford energy and they are mistaken for thinking that today's energy costs is acceptable.. They will bite them sooner or later .

December 27 2011 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Investors are wrong to think that we must use more oil and gas in order to grow our economy. Quite to the contrary, we must run away from oil , etc as much as possible in order to save money that is better spent elsewhere. It is not like that we will sit on the cash we save from using less energy, we will spend it elsewherre.. Oil investors think in a very wrong way.

December 27 2011 at 10:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Our economy is burdened greatly under high energy costs because there is not much alternative energy sources around to go to. Our debts mounted up largely because of high energy costs. It is everyone's fault not only the energy producers. There is ways to increase alternative energy especially solar energy because we can use mirrors to capture sunlight for heating . We are too narrow-focused on photovoltaics alone.. The Sun can heat our homes and help us reduce dependence on natural gas and heating oil. We just dont understand it. I use mirrors to heat my home successfully.

December 27 2011 at 10:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply