Monday, March 12, 2012

Crude Rallying Higher, but Oil Stocks Mixed

Exxon Mobil (XOM) investors decided not to catch a ride on the big oil rally at the end of the trading day on Thursday, as the integrated oil giant has been trading flat for most of the day and is now down about 0.2%. (Exxon reported a slight increase in proved reserves today, which may account for the stock’s sluggishness.)

After starting the day in the red, oil prices jumped toward the end of the day on a report that showed inventories rose less than expected. Nymex crude futures were recently up about 1.5% at $107.85 per barrel.

Oil’s big five-day rally (up more than $5) has helped most of the sector, though to varying degrees. Oil-rich company Suncor (SU) is up 7.6% in the past five days, while lumbering behemoths like Chevron (up 2.6% over that period) have gotten less of a pop.

Investors may be hesitant to believe an oil rally that may have more to do with weakness in the dollar and threats by Iran to cut off European oil supplies than a real change in supply-demand characteristics.

And of course, the stocks that rise highest on a jump in oil prices tend to fall harder on the down-slope.

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