After a debilitating fall from the high $70s in July, crude oil appeared to find a bottom near $50 last week, and the resulting rebound from that base in the related stocks, which put the group among last week's best performers, was not lost on the gurus in their Monday morning missives.

"Our sense remains that crude oil is close to a bottom despite rumors that Saudi Arabia is pressuring oil prices to bring Iran to its knees," writes Jeffrey Saut, chief equity strategist at Raymond James.

Saut refers to the notion that Saudi Arabia is ignoring calls from other OPEC members for emergency production cuts to shore up crude because of geopolitical concerns.

"U.S. allies in the Arabian Gulf -- especially Saudi Arabia -- are heeding the calls of Washington, by extending the recent decline in oil prices in order to prevent a U.S. economic hard landing," Ashraf Laidi, chief FX analyst at CMC Markets recently opined. "In return, the increase of U.S. forces in Iraq preempts Iran-backed insurgency from spilling over to Saudi Arabia."

Beyond such geopolitical and realpolitik concerns, Saut observed that Friday's Wall Street Journal article "Who is Hurt by Oil's Fall" is the kind of story that typically gets published near an inflection point.

"We think oil stocks are bottoming, a sense confirmed by the action of various energy-centric indices," he writes, citing the Energy Select Sector SPDR ( XLE), Amex Oil & Gas Index, and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Service Index, which each rose between 0.9% and 2.2% last week. (On Monday, the XLE and Oil & Gas Index each fell 0.7% as crude failed to sustain an early rally ; the Oil Service Index managed to close slightly higher.)

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