NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Energy stocks are rallying on Wednesday to new 52-week highs as the Dow broke the market's psychological barrier of 12,000.
Oil service stocks that received a tepid reaction from the market after recent earnings beats, including Schlumberger (SLB) and Halliburton (HAL), found a more bullish reception on Wednesday, with Halliburton hitting a new 52-week high after a 5% rise early on Wednesday.
Baker Hughes (BHI), Schlumberger and Weatherford International (WFT) were all rallying on Wednesday, the first time that the stocks had moved up as a group since the earnings reports released over the past three days received a mixed reaction from investors.Halliburton was the big mover, though, nearing ts average daily volume of shares traded before the midday mark. Halliburton trades at the lowest multiple of any of the oil service stocks and the action on Wednesday seemed to be a bit of a catch-up. Baker Hughes raced ahead by 6% on Tuesday after its earnings report showed improving margins, but was the only of the major oil service stocks to move up strongly on earnings. Halliburton was recently trading at 14 times earnings, versus 17 times for Baker Hughes and 21 times earnings for Schlumberger. Energy sector analysts have expected the oil service stocks to trade up and down on any given day, with Darren Gacicia, analyst at Dahlman Rose, referring to the current period as a transition phase for the oil service stocks. Fast money is always active in trading around earnings, but with commentary from the oil service companies bullish overall and the Dow hitting 12,000, it's likely that long-term investors will consolidate in these stocks over time as well. Among producers, Exxon Mobil (XOM), ConocoPhillips (COP) and Marathon Oil (MRO) all reached fresh 52-week highs on Wednesday morning. A Street ratings change was helping Marathon Oil, which last week announced a plan to spin off its refinery business, to move higher, as Morgan Stanley upped Marathon Oil to a buy.
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