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Why ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, and Apache Stocks Popped Today

By Rich Smith - Dec 2, 2020 at 3:06PM

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Oil inventories are up! No, wait, they're down! And so oil stocks are up.

What happened

Shares of ExxonMobil ( XOM -0.90% ), Phillips 66 ( PSX 0.14% ), and Apache Corporation ( APA -0.94% ) are rocketing today, up 4.4%, 4.8%, and 8.2%, respectively, as of 1:40 p.m. EST. It turns out there's good reason for that. In today's oil price news, WTI crude oil prices and Brent crude are recovering from yesterday's drop, rising 2.2% each in the early afternoon.  

But that's not all the good news there is to report.

Three colorful arrows racing straight up on a black background

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Energy investors are also taking heart today from the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which show that U.S. commercial crude oil stockpiles shrank by 0.7 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 27.  

Granted, at 488 million barrels, inventories are still 7% higher than average for this time of year. But with winter coming on and temperatures dropping, investors seem to be taking even the slight tightening in oil supplies that the EIA reports as good news -- and worthy of a rally for oil stocks. The more so because, as recently as yesterday, word had it that the week's inventory number was going to be up -- and instead it turns out to have been down.  

Now what

Meanwhile, Bloomberg is reporting that talks among OPEC and its oil producing nation partners are ongoing, and there's still a good chance that the organization will decide to postpone planned production increases until oil demand revives a bit.

Reportedly, Russia and the United Arab Emirates are pushing for an earlier increase in production, but "most OPEC nations," says Bloomberg, favor restraint and a continued postponement of any production increases. Assuming this majority prevails, continued control over oil supplies should help to push prices higher -- or at least not let them fall back toward the sub-$40 price levels seen earlier in the year.  

With all three of these stocks -- Exxon, Phillips 66, and Apache -- currently losing money and burning cash over the past year, they can use all the support they can get.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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Stocks Mentioned

Exxon Mobil Corporation Stock Quote
Exxon Mobil Corporation
XOM
$61.89 (-0.90%) $0.56
Apache Corporation Stock Quote
Apache Corporation
APA
$26.38 (-0.94%) $0.25
Phillips 66 Stock Quote
Phillips 66
PSX
$71.95 (0.14%) $0.10

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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