Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of Whiting Petroleum Corp (NYSE:WLL) jumped by more than 13% by mid-afternoon on Tuesday. That rally was partially fueled by the continuation of the recovery of crude oil, which is up another 3%. However, that's not the only thing fueling Whiting's stock as analysts from Stifel Nicolaus upgraded it to buy.
So What: In the grand scheme of things neither of today's catalysts is all that meaningful. First of all, a couple of days of rallying crude prices doesn't make a trend. Meanwhile, analysts upgrade or downgrade stocks for reasons that sometimes have nothing to do with the fundamentals of the business.
However, investors do seem to be buying into the idea that oil has bottomed, at least in the near-term. This is sending oil-related stocks surging higher, especially those like Whiting that were badly beaten down by the huge downdraft in oil prices last year.
Meanwhile, the analyst upgrade did remind investors that Whiting is heading in the right direction. The upgrade noted that the company's balance sheet is getting better and that it had loads of liquidity to see it through the next two years. This combined with what appears to be higher oil prices in the future should enable the company to make decent money drilling new wells.
Now What: Whiting Petroleum could have a lot more room to run according to Stifel Nicolaus, which put its price target at $45, or about 20% higher than the current price. One upside catalyst that was noted is the possible sale of the company's midstream assets, which could bring in a few hundred million dollars worth of cash. Because of this catalyst, along with the potential for oil prices to rise, there's certainly a case to be made that today's pop is justified as the stock could continue to run.