What: The price of crude oil soared on Friday, with the U.S. oil benchmark price, WTI, closing up 9% on the day to more than $32 per barrel. That rally sent a multitude of energy stocks higher, including NGL Energy Partners (NYSE:NGL), Gran Tierra Energy (NYSEMKT:GTE), ONEOK (NYSE:OKE), HollyFrontier (NYSE:HFC), and McDermott International (NYSE:MDR), all of which were up by double digits at some point on Friday.
So what: For the most part, the rally in the price of oil was the only fuel pushing these stocks higher, with refiner HollyFrontier and oil-field engineering company McDermott International moving higher solely along with crude prices.
That said, some of the others did have some noteworthy news worth pointing out. Midstream companies NGL Energy Partners and ONEOK, for example, both declared dividends yesterday, which were in line with previous payments. That's actually good news, because there has been a lot of worry that both companies would be forced to cut their dividend payments because of the tickle-down impact from lower oil prices on midstream companies. Meanwhile, oil and gas producer Grand Tierra Energy announced its year-end reserve report yesterday, which showed an increase in the company's proved reserves, despite very weak commodity prices. Still, if it wasn't for the big rally in the oil price, none of these stocks would have rallied as sharply today.
Now what: Investors have been desperately hoping that the oil price would find a bottom, and at least for the time being, it seems to have done so this week. Having said that, despite today's strong move in the oil price, crude has a long way to go before it will be high enough to fuel a rebound in oil and gas activity, which is needed before the sector's earnings will return to normal, let alone grow.