Oil stocks are trending higher today as markets around the world digest news of a Covid-19 surge in China and an escalating war in Ukraine.
Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, is back to trading above $100 per barrel after falling below that mark yesterday. West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. standard, is up nearly 7% today at $100.50 per barrel. The rise comes amid reports that Shanghai is enduring its worst outbreak of Covid-19 since the pandemic began two years ago and as the war in Ukraine appears to be escalating.
The increase in crude prices is sending shares of oil companies sharply higher, with speculative names such as Imperial Petroleum (NASDAQ:IMPP), Indonesia Energy (NYSEMKT:INDO) and Camber Energy (NYSEMKT:CEI) each up more than 5% in morning trading.
What Happened With Oil Stocks
After slumping over the past week, global prices for crude oil are reversing this morning and rising. The price of Brent crude is up 6% today to $104.70 per barrel after falling below $100 the previous day. In early March, Brent crude oil was trading above $130 a barrel, with many analysts forecasting that it was on its way to $150 or higher.
The reversal in oil prices has been prompted by fears of a massive outbreak of Covid-19 in China, where the government has locked down Shanghai, which serves as the country’s financial center. Additionally, Russia is reportedly preparing for a massive assault in eastern Ukraine, where it has positioned tens of thousands of troops.
The rise in oil prices comes despite the U.S. and other nations coordinating a record release of oil from their strategic petroleum reserves to help increase supply and bring down prices at the pump.
Why It Matters
While bad for consumers, rising oil prices are good news for oil-producing companies. Shares of IMPP, INDO, CEI and others rise anytime the companies can get more money for the oil they extract from the ground.
The energy sector has been the best performing and a lone bright spot for investors this year. The S&P 500 Energy Index is up nearly 40% year to date, compared to a 7% year-to-date decline in the benchmark S&P 500. Many notable investors, including Warren Buffett, have been taking big stakes in oil companies in recent months as crude prices have risen.
Oil stocks look set to rally today as the price of crude increases. This is welcome relief to shareholders of stocks such as IMPP, INDO, CEI and others. Following a down week, the rise in energy stocks looks set to continue as crude oil prices again move back above the critical $100-per-barrel level.
On the date of publication, Joel Baglole did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.