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The air is very thin at the altitude where Big Oil operates. Second-quarter results were a breathless mix of missed expectations, rising costs, lower upstream production, and deteriorating downstream operations. Analysts say investor interest in the big energy companies has rarely been lower. In a recent Morgan Stanley ranking, energy stocks are the cheapest of a group of sectors on a forward earnings basis – 12.9 times compared with 13.6 times for financials and 16.4 times for healthcare.