NEW YORK (
) -- The markets may continue to be uncertain about the fate of
, but at least for a day
stock is trading away from the embattled British oil giant.
Shares of Transocean, which acted as operator of the doomed Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded April 20 and caused the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, surged more than 8% Friday afternoon. Volume reached 20 million shares by midday, surpassing the daily average of 15 million.
, which owns 25% of the BP well and has often traded down even more severely than BP in recent sessions, was gaining more than 3% at midday. Anadarko had also surpassed its average daily volume of shares traded by midday.
Transocean and Anadarko's shares were outpacing gains in the broader equities markets Friday, as well as gains among energy stocks.
>>Video: Cramer's Thoughts on Energy
BP's stock, meanwhile, received a small pop shortly after midday when it was announced that BP CEO Tony Hayward would be stepping down from heading day-to-day spill-containment operations in the Gulf of Mexico, though it was only up marginally on the day.
However, with BP managing director Bob Dudley recently recalled from Russia to head operations in the Gulf, the significance of the announcement of Hayward's departure wasn't clear. It could be part of an already planned transition, with Dudley in the Gulf running the oil response team -- essentially a public-relations move to get Hayward out of the headlines -- or a harbinger of Hayward's ultimate removal as CEO.
BP stock received some notable upgrades on Thursday and Friday. Some analysts made a buy call on BP after the company conceded to government demands to create a $20 billion escrow account and suspend its 2010 dividend program. BP received upgrades from Collins Stewart, Societe Generale, and U.K.-based broker Oriel Securities.
The analysts agreed that the financial concessions exacted by the White House provided a level of assurance about BP's fate that, viewed in combination with the massive losses in the company's share price, made the upside potential merit a buy.
>>Why BP Made Concessions
Some analysts also contend that the spectacle of Hayward's testimony before Congress on Thursday served as not only a low point in the rhetoric in the oil spill, but a de facto bottom in BP shares.
It was hard to judge the testimony from Hayward as a read on potential liability to either Transocean or Anadarko. All the questioning focused on decisions made by BP engineers and workers -- which Hayward refused to comment on.
For his part, Hayward focused on the blowout preventer's failure, a device manufactured by
Neither BP's financial concessions -- meant to shore up equity and debt market confidence in its viability -- nor the low point of Hayward's testimony were enough to stop Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investor Service from downgrading BP's long-term and short-term debt on Thursday and Friday.
The bond rating agencies both stated that while the financial concessions were a positive, they did not outweigh the ongoing uncertainty resulting from the oil spill.
In fact, some equity analysts took a negative view of the financial concessions that BP made. Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock to hold from buy, saying the concessions were another indication that BP would no longer outperform peers in the energy sector.
BP is reportedly planning a $5 billion to $10 billion bond issue as early as next week. The company previously stated that it has the flexibility to increase its net debt ratio by another 10%, up from 20% currently, or $25 billion.
Edward Jones cut its BP rating from hold to sell, saying the oil company's financial position would continue to weaken.
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