The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has gained 0.82% late in today's trading, and energy stocks are helping lead the way. There was little economic news out today, but oil jumped 1.6% in late trading after U.S. crude supplies increased less than expected. That helped drive oil giants Chevron (NYSE:CVX) and ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) higher today.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said crude inventories were up 1.6 million barrels last week, but analysts were expecting a 2.5 million-barrel increase. A rise in inventory has pushed oil lower in recent weeks, so even a small increase was enough to push it higher today.
Chevron is the big winner today, jumping 2.4%. The company announced a 50-year deal with Ukraine to explore for natural gas and oil in shale deposits. Chevron will spend $350 million in the exploratory phase, and the total investment may top $10 billion depending on what it finds.
Ukraine imports most of its natural gas from Russia and was cut off from supplies in 2006 and 2009 over price disputes. The country wants to reduce its reliance on Russia, and President Viktor Yanukovych said it may be able to export energy by 2020 under optimistic scenarios. This is a big win for Chevron and may change the future of Ukraine as well.
Investors in ExxonMobil are looking to the rise in oil, as well as the company's upcoming dividend. It will pay a $0.63 dividend per share to those who own the stock on Friday. Keep in mind that shares will likely drop by about the dividend amount when shares begin trading again on Monday, all else being equal.
Energy earnings news
The big earnings news today came from Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK), which posted a profit of $156 million, or $0.24 per share, after losing $2.06 billion a year ago. Chesapeake is focusing on growth in the liquids space and is showing progress, increasing oil output 23% last quarter.
What investors weren't excited about was a prediction that production will fall 9,000 barrels per day next quarter. This is the downside of cutting costs and capital expenditures: There's simply less production taking place.
All in all, it wasn't a terrible report from Chesapeake Energy, and I think investors looking at the company should view the drop in shares as a discount after swinging back to a profit.