What: Shares of oil explorer Halcon Resources Corp (NYSE:HK) jumped 10% today after the company got an upgrade from Standard & Poor's.

So what: This wasn't a typical analyst upgrade, which can send stocks sharply higher, this was an upgrade of the company's debt. The rating agency now rates the company B-, which is up from a selective default rating previously.  

Now what: In April, Franklin Resources exchanged $116.5 million of 9.75% bonds for common stock, and S&P feared that the deal could lead to more debt-for-equity transactions. But today's upgrade indicated that the firm didn't believe more transactions like that were necessary. With that said, S&P still has a negative outlook for Halcon Resources' debt, so the company isn't out of the woods, but it may have a little more breathing room for survival if oil prices continue their slow and steady climb.  

Travis Hoium 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.