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BP, Oil-Spill Stocks: The Day of Reckoning

SAN JOSE, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- As Tuesday's Senate hearing into the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico proceeded, BP (BP - Get Report) shares were the only shares among those of the oil companies testifying that traded down.

It's far from a scientific law or financial algorithm that dictates the correlation between stock performance and the performance of top executives facing a verbal grilling from the U.S. Senate.

Nevertheless, at least for a day, as the never-ending blame game among the oil companies played out in the Senate, shares of Transocean (RIG - Get Report) and Halliburton (HAL - Get Report) finished trading positive. Transocean shares were up 3.8% at the end of Tuesday trading, while Halliburton shares finished the day up 2.7%.

Cameron International (CAM - Get Report), the manufacturer of the blowout preventer that has been front and center in the oil-spill investigation, and the chief piece of equipment in BP's assigning of blame, also finished Tuesday in positive territory, up by 3%.

BP shares were down, albeit marginally, at the end of trading on Tuesday.

If there is to be any correlation between the performance of stocks as their top executives faced the firing line in Washington D.C., it certainly did not seem to matter how the politicians rated the CEO performance. After the Senate hearing on Tuesday, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) told the Wall Street Journal that the oil executives' responses were "disappointing" and lacked "candor."

During the Senate hearing, a frustrated Republican Senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said that if the oil companies can't restore confidence in their operations offshore, "The incident will impact the development of energy policy for our country." The Alaskan Senator added in a rhetorical flourish that if confidence is not restored, "not only will BP not be out there, the Transcoeans won't be out there to drill the rigs and the Halliburtons won't be out there cementing."

Of course, as a Republican Senator from the great state of Alaska -- where each resident receives an oil profit dividend check each year -- Murkowski is no foe of offshore drilling, in general.

And late on Tuesday, the New York Times reported that the climate bill that the Senate is set to unveil on Wednesday would include modified support for offshore drilling.
More on the BP Oil Spill
Oil Spill Impact: Photo Gallery
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BP $34.77 0.49%
CAM $68.93 0.94%
HAL $40.40 1.84%
RIG $14.20 -1.11%
AAPL $117.34 -0.81%


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