What happened 

Shares of offshore-drilling company Transocean (NYSE:RIG) jumped an incredible 175.9% in November, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, after reporting earnings and a new contract. The run didn't stop in December, as shares rose another 15.7% in the first week of trading. 

So what 

There were a few notable news items during the month. Earnings were reported early in November, and third-quarter 2020 revenue was $773 million on 96.6% revenue efficiency. Adjusted net loss was $69 million, or $0.11 per share. Those aren't great results, but the market for offshore-drilling rigs clearly hasn't collapsed yet. 

Offshore drilling rig on open water.

Image source: Getty Images.

On the contract side, Transocean announced extensions for Deepwater Corcovado and Deepwater Mykonos, which total $297 million in backlog. The contracts are for 680 days and 815 days, respectively.

Now what 

This may not sound like earth-shattering news that would cause a stock to nearly triple, but Transocean is coming off lows below $1 per share, so it was firmly in penny-stock territory. As shares rose above $1, investors who are restricted from buying penny stocks were allowed to buy shares, creating further upward momentum for the stock.

I don't think Transocean is out of the woods yet, given currently low oil prices, but last month, investors were excited to dive back into the offshore-drilling market. 

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.