NEW YORK (
, also known as Petrobras, gained Thursday after U.S.-listed shares of the Brazilian oil and gas company were upgraded.
American depositary receipts of Petrobras rose 1.3% in early-afternoon trading on high volume.
Petrobras said it will pay Brazil $42.5 billion in new stock in exchange for being allowed to develop 5 billion barrels of oil in offshore fields below the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.
S&P Equity Research upgraded the firm's U.S.-listed shares to buy from hold. It said even though Petrobras' stock-for-oil deal came in at the high end of expectations and is likely to add near-term pressure to its stock, the deal is still viewed in a positive light because of its strong long-term growth potential.
Petrobras' offering is one of the largest stock offerings this year, and is part of its overall plan to invest $224 billion by 2014. The deal is expected to close Sept. 30.
Petrobras investors such as billionaire
Banco BTG Pactual
have been part of a recent sell off in Petrobras shares,
Elsewhere in the energy sector, shares of Mariner Energy were among the most widely-traded shares on Thursday after a fire broke out on an offshore platform it owns in the Gulf of Mexico, a region still reeling from the aftereffects of the catastrophic
Early reports of the explosion seemed to be either mistaken or exaggerated. Workers were sandblasting the platform when the fire occurred, and production had been halted.
A Mariner spokesman said that there was neither evidence of an oil spill, nor any visible sheen on the surface of the water.
Shares of Mariner, in the process of being acquired by
, promptly sold off after the news broke, dropping nearly 11% but as more details emerged that allayed fears of a large-scale accident, the stock rebounded somewhat.
Mariner shares were down by 4%, to $22.41, in early-afternoon trading.
-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.
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