Exxon Mobil, Chevron gain in Dow rally
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Shares of
Exxon Mobil (XOM) advanced 3% to $85.57 at the closing bell -- good enough for a 1% gain in the first half of 2012. The Irving, Texas, oil and natural gas producer's stock had fallen nearly 2% for the year to date prior to Friday's trades, according to data from Dow Jones Indexes.
Chevron (CVX) rose 2% to $105.50. As of Thursday's close, the San Ramon, Calif., company's stock had fallen about 2.8% so far in 2012.
Both Exxon Mobil and Chevron are components of the 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average, which rallied 278 points.
Nansen Saleri, chief executive officer of Quantum Reservoir Impact and a long-time player in the energy sector, said he expects the second of 2012 to provide better returns than the past six months.
"I don't see the current malaise continuing to the same degree," Saleri said in a phone interview. "Economies [around the world] will stabilize and any continuation in gains in the general equity market will have a positive effect on crude oil and the energy sector."
Among broad benchmarks tracking the energy sector, the NYSE Arca Oil Index (XOI) rose 3.4%, the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index (XNG) moved up by 2% and the Philadelphia Oil Service Index (OSX) jumped 3.9%. The Energy Select SPDR Fund (XLE) , which tracks energy stocks in the S&P, rose 3%.
Talks have stepped up in recent weeks between U.S. regulators and the two companies over a multibillion-dollar settlement in connection with the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent Gulf of Mexico oil spill, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
An estimated 4.9 million barrels of crude spilled into the Gulf in the worst maritime spill in U.S. history.
Thomas Claps, a legal expert cited by the newspaper, estimated BP faces between $7 billion and $10 billion in civil Clean Water Act fines and up to $10 billion in criminal penalties.
Transocean could face $700 million to $1.2 billion in fines, Claps said. BP and Transocean declined to comment on the report, according to the Journal.
Energy stocks rise in June, dip in the first half
Riding optimism around moves to stem the European debt crisis, energy stocks moved up in the past week and for June, but they ended the first half of the year in negative territory.
The NYSE Arca Oil Index ended the first six months of the year at 1,165, down about 5.2%. The index of major oil producers and refiners has gained about 12% from its level a month ago, and is up about 4.4% in the past week.
The NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index closed Friday at 624, down about 1.9% for the first six months of 2012. The benchmark is up about 5.9% for June and ahead of its week-ago close by about 5%.
The Philadelphia Oil Service Index ended Friday at 201, down about 7% for the first half of the year. The benchmark is about flat for the month but up 4% in the past week.