MarketWatch Oil stocks make it five at close Friday February 4, 4:29 pm ET By Lisa Sanders Drillers get a lift from upgrades
DALLAS (MarketWatch) - Oil stocks closed higher for the fifth straight session Friday, as record earnings reports during the week sparked bullish feelings about the sector. The Amex Oil Index closed at another record high of 773.56 points, up 0.4 percent and up 5.2 percent for the week. The Amex Natural Gas Index rose by 0.1 percent on the session and by 3 percent for the week to close at 299.13 points, and the Philadelphia Oil Service Index was up 0.3 percent on the session and up 4.3 percent for the week to close at 133.03.
Among individual shares, Ensco International (NYSE:ESV - News), Rowan Cos. (NYSE:RDC - News), Noble Corp. (NYSE:NE - News) and TODCO (NYSE:THE - News) closed higher after Banc of America Securities upgraded the stocks to "buy" from "neutral" on strength in demand for shallow-water rigs.
"Worldwide jackup day rates are increasing faster than expected, and we look for rising consensus expectations to drive outperformance for the shallow-water, jackup-leveraged companies," analyst Doug Becker said in a note to clients.
Previously, Banc of America had recommended deepwater drillers. See Ratings Game.
In trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude for March delivery added 3 cents to settle at $46.48 a barrel after hitting a one-month low in the previous session. See Futures Movers.