The price of crude rebounded this week due to a growing sense by the market that supplies were starting to get under control. That's partially due to the draconian capital spending cuts being made by oil producers this year, with many cutting spending so steeply it will cause significant year-over-year production declines. On top of that, this was the peak week of earnings season for the energy sector, which also fueled a lot of investor activity. Add it all up, and for the most part energy stocks rocketed higher this week. Leading the way, according to S&P Capital IQ data, were Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR), McDermott International (NYSE:MDR), Encana (NYSE:OVV), Helix Energy Solutions (NYSE:HLX), and Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK).
Aside from the rebound in crude prices, earnings were the biggest driver this week with McDermott, Encana, Helix Energy Solutions, and Chesapeake Energy all beating consensus estimates. Strong cost reductions and improving operations pushed earnings above expectations.
In addition to that, all five companies had some positive news that investors really liked. Continental Resources, for example, not only reiterated its capex plan, but said that it would make additional cuts if conditions worsened. Meanwhile, Encana and Chesapeake Energy both announced capex plans that call for spending that's 55% less than what they spent last year, while Chesapeake Energy announced important progress on asset sales. Finally, McDermott and Helix both released outlooks that were stronger than investors were anticipating.
To learn more about why these stocks moved so sharply, check out the following slideshow.