It's an easier question to ask than answer, and it's part and parcel of the debate about whether BP shares will reach full recovery in 2011. The knee-jerk response might be to think that since BP shares rock bottomed in 2010, the situation can only improve in 2011.
Yet a fair amount of recovery in BP shares has already taken place. BP shares reached an oil spill low of $26.75 back in June, when it seemed as if the oil company might never take control of the underwater gusher. BP shares have clawed their way back to the $43 to $44 level, where they have been trading since mid-December.It hasn't hurt BP shares that crude oil finally surpassed the $90 mark, and many 2011 market outlooks include crude above the $100 mark.
(RIG) Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank into the Gulf of Mexico. So is it another leg up to the $60 mark as the energy sector rallies in 2011, or can the news still get worse for BP, or in the least, keep the oil stock mired in the oil spill muck, which from a legal perspective, will be measured in years as opposed to barrels. The biggest negative for BP is the fact that the final price tag from the oil spill won't be known any time soon. Even though the company took a $32 billion charge in the second quarter, set up the $20 billion escrow fund with the government, and suspended its dividend, negative headlines still loom for the British oil company, headlines that may move the oil spill abacus. Negative headlines, as a rule, aren't going away. Just look at the New York Times piece over the week, a 12-page epic on everything that went wrong with the Macondo well and on the Deepwater Horizon rig -- and apparently EVERYTHING did go wrong -- and the article didn't neglect to mention that BP managers were paid bonuses based partially on the speed and price at which projects were finished. On the other hand, the Times Deepwater Horizon epic also made clear that a lot of what did go wrong was not the specific fault of BP, and that Transocean procedures and processes, in particular, also failed in virtually every regard.
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