Oil topped $50 a barrel this week, though it did close below that key price point. However, oil was still up 1.9% for the week, due to continued global supply disruptions as well as the looming OPEC meeting. That helped ignite a rally in oil stocks.
According to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, among the best-performing energy stocks this week were Chesapeake Energy (OTC:CHKA.Q), Crestwood Equity Partners (NYSE:CEQP), Pioneer Energy Services (NYSE:PES), Fairmount Santrol Holdings (NYSE: FMSA), and EXCO Resources (NYSE: XCO).
While crude ignited this week's rally, debt reduction announcements were a clear trend among most of the top movers. Chesapeake Energy's move, for example, was also fueled by the announcement of another debt-for-equity swap. Meanwhile, both EXCO Resources and Crestwood Equity Partners announced updates to their own debt reduction strategies.
That said, debt wasn't the only other fuel driving this week's top-performing stocks. Analysts also played a role in the rally after not one, but two analysts upgraded Fairmount Santrol this week, both seeing strong potential for the company's frack sand business as higher oil prices drive increased oil-field activities. Those higher oil prices, likewise, will drive improved activity for Pioneer Energy Services. In fact, the company noted at an analyst conference this week that utilization within its drilling and well services segments has already improved from April.
To learn more about why these stocks moved so sharply, check out the following slideshow.