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 onshore oil driller Key Energy Services Inc (NYSE:KEG) are up more than 11% in early afternoon trading on February 9. So far in 2015, the stock is up 49% and has been one of the most volatile in the energy sector. Even with the big gains this year, it is still down 67% over the past year, and almost 80% from the 2014 peak in April:
So what: It looks like rising oil prices are partly behind today's price jump, as there isn't any material news about Key Energy Services to point out. Considering that many other small U.S. oil and gas-related companies are also seeing big stock price jumps today, it's likely that momentum is behind today's price jump.
Now what: Much like competitor Pioneer Energy Services' big stock move, don't let today's big price jump confuse you with any material positives about their business. The reality is, drillers and rig services providers are going to face an incredibly challenging environment in 2015. According to Baker Hughes, there are 315 less oil rigs operating in the U.S. than there were one year ago, with the count falling by 87 in the past week alone.
We are talking about more than 20% less business for drillers versus 2014, and we are only just now beginning to see the effects of the capex cuts that oil and gas producers have begun to implement. While the long-term outlook for oil and gas production in the U.S. remains relatively strong, drillers and rig services companies are going to be under immense pressure this year. If you're looking to invest in the oil and gas sector, I probably wouldn't look at drillers right now.
Jason Hall has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.