NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Energy companies Chesapeake Energy ( CHK), Cabot Oil & Gas ( COG) and Range Resources ( RRC) were among the best performing stocks on the S&P 500 midday Friday. The S&P 500 rose 0.07% to 1,359.01 midday Friday. Shares of Chesapeake Energy rose 3.16% to $24.52. The company was upgraded to buy from hold by Stifel Nicolaus on Friday. "Firm says if investors look beyond a 12-month horizon, this stock is trading at a cheaper P/NAV than most names and its underlying NAV has been firming up, they think the company should be able to cover its 2012 funding gap, and funding gap begins to shrink in outer years," Briefing.com said of the Stifel Nicolaus report. "Therefore, this becomes an attractive entry point for a company whose stock has gone nowhere since late 2008 and yet has amassed a huge resource exposure with some large acreage positions in some of the best plays." Chesapeake Energy has an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 12.12; the average for exploration and production companies is 19.63. For comparison, Valero Energy ( VLO) has a lower forward P/E of 6.01 and Noble Energy's ( NBL) forward P/E is 12.53. Eighteen of the 37 analysts who cover Chesapeake rated it a buy. Fifteen analysts rated it at hold and four considered it a sell. TheStreet Ratings gives Chesapeake a B- grade with a $28.27 price target. The stock closed Thursday at $23.77 and has risen 9.51% year to date.