NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Chevron (CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report was the top gainer in the Dow Industrials on Thursday. Shares gained 6.3%, far outpacing General Electric (GE) - Get General Electric Company (GE) Report, which finished the day in the No. 2 spot with a 4.2% advance. Volume driving Chevron higher was over double its 50-day average and was the heaviest upside day for the stock since mid-2011.
The long, painful retreat for the stock, and for energy in general, since the start of May is showing signs of exhaustion. For investors, it may be time to focus on big-cap energy once again. Chevron could be setting up as a leadership name for a long-overdue rebound.
At Monday's low, Chevron was off over 38% from its 2015 high. The bulk of this damage came shortly after the April close. Until then, the stock had held in a tight range near its highs. As May opened, the stock began a 16-week free fall that include four straight lower monthly highs.
This relentless downtrend pushed the stock to a deeply oversold reading even before the Monday meltdown. Chevron's weekly moving average convergence/divergence reading easily surpassed the oversold level it reached during the 2009 bottom and now sits nearly 40% below its 40-week moving average. Going back to 1984, Chevron has never been this far below this long-term indicator.
If Chevron can maintain its footing above Monday's low, a significant bottom may be in. The stock has a solid band of support now in place that stretches from last Friday's peak near $75.40 to Thursday's breakout gap at $73.10. A dip back down to this area in the near term would provide a low-risk buying opportunity for patient bulls. A close back below Monday's low of of $69.58 would indicate a lengthy basing process is ahead.
A logical upside target would be a return to the July lows near $88. This is quite a ways off, but if bulls continue to bid for shares the way they have the last two sessions, quite a bit of ground will be made up rather quickly.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author was long CVX.