Southwestern Energy (SWN) is back on top of the S&P 500 Thursday, for the second day in a row, along with Consol Energy (CNX), supported by a spike in oil prices.
Oil prices jumped nearly 5%, at some points peaking above $30 a barrel, based on U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate.
Southwestern, which also topped the index Wednesday as investors ran to natural gas producers ahead of the weekend blizzard and mounting cold front, was also aided Thursday by a plan to cut more than 40% of its workforce. Drilling production had slowed to such a point that no rigs were operational as of New Year's Day, according to a filing with the SEC.
"The 2016 workforce reduction will affect more than 1,100 employees and follows a smaller reduction that occurred during the third quarter of 2015, the one-time costs of which were immaterial and were reflected in the financial statements for that period," Southwestern said in a statement filed with the SEC.
"Together, these reductions are expected to decrease current costs of the Company by approximately $150 to $175 million on an annual basis, exclusive of the one-time termination benefits; a portion of these savings represent costs that would have been capitalized rather than expensed," Southwestern said.
Southwestern and Consol both jumped roughly 19% in regular market trading Thursday, and a host of energy names were lifted as well, including Range Resources (RRC), which soared 18%, and Kinder Morgan (KMI), which rose 15% following the energy transportation and storage company's plans to cut more than $3 billion in expected capital expenditures.
Woes persisted at Seagate Technology (STX), which fell the most in the S&P Thursday, about 6%, continuing a 25% plummet since the beginning of the year, and following a 2015 in which roughly half its market cap dissolved amid waning demand for desktop PCs.