U.S. oil majors’ stock prices return to pre-pandemic levels

Kevin Crowley 1/6/2022

HOUSTON (Bloomberg) --A rally in oil prices lifted U.S. energy stocks to the highest since the pandemic emerged more than two years ago.

The S&P 500 Energy Index rose 2.3% Thursday to the highest close since Jan. 7, 2020, when the virus was still thought to be contained to central China. Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. reached pre-pandemic stock prices earlier this week, while shale drillers ConocoPhillips and Pioneer Natural Resources Co. are trading at levels not seen since 2018.

Oil and natural gas stocks were hit with a double whammy in early 2020 when lockdowns slashed energy demand and a short-lived supply war between Russia and Saudi Arabia pushed prices below zero. But a steady rebound in consumption and self-help measures such as cost cutting and debt reduction helped improve the outlook for crude producers.

West Texas Intermediate crude rose 2.1% to $79.46 a barrel in New York on Thursday.

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