Shares of Delek US Holdings (Ticker: DK) are up more than 40 percent so far in 2013 and more than 170 percent over the past 12 months. And while they took a bit of a breather of late, Jack Hough at Barron's over the weekend wrote that the oil refiners active in the center of the country will continue to benefit from the difference between what they pay for the West Texas Intermediate crude and what consumers are paying for refined products, which are based more on the price of Brent oil. That dynamic is expected to be a temporary one — even though it's persisted for a good while — and one analyst says that is creating a virtuous cycle of sorts.
Belief that the refiner boom will end keeps investment low. That strains capacity and keeps the boom running. Over the past six quarters, Wall Street analysts have consistently underestimated refiner earnings. They still are.