What happened

Shares of Continental Resources (CLR) were trading about 12% higher as of 11:50 a.m. EST on Friday. Fueling the oil stock's rally were a debt redemption announcement and an analyst upgrade.   

So what

Continental Resources continues to take steps to shore up its balance sheet. It said Friday that it plans to redeem $400 million of its 5% senior notes due in 2022 on Jan. 5, 2021. That amounts to about 63% of the approximately $631 million of those notes. The announcement of that plan followed a recent debt offering that priced $1.5 billion of 5.75% senior notes due in 2031. The company had said it intended to use those funds to redeem a portion of its 2022 and 2023 senior notes and reduce its near-term debt maturities. 

Two oil pumps with a bright sun in the background.

Image source: Getty Images.

In addition, Truist analyst Neal Dingmann upgraded Continental Resources stock from hold to buy early Friday morning, and boosted his price target from $15 to $22 a share. Even after the subsequent rally, that target is more than 20% above where the shares are trading. In Dingmann's view, the company's operational efficiencies -- in combination with OPEC's efforts to stabilize oil prices -- should produce a material cash flow upside that would propel the stock higher. The analyst also believes that Continental can reduce its debt to a level "comfortably" below $5 billion next year due to its expected free cash flow and by making further asset sales. 

Now what

While Continental Resources stock has lots of upside potential if crude prices improve, there are questions about the long-term outlook for the oil market, especially given the economy's accelerating shift toward cleaner power sources. Because of these factors, this oil stock might struggle to outperform the market over the long term.