All 20 members of Real Money's "Stressed Out" index are solidly in the green as of midday Thursday trading, due in part to oil's recent upward trend. The broader S&P 500 is relatively flat.
Eleven are directly exposed to prices of oil and gas. The price of WTI crude oil has been rising since Monday and is now hovering around $35 a barrel. (Meanwhile, natural gas prices have been falling over the last five days and are priced around $1.66 MBTU.)
So far, the biggest beneficiary of Thursday's rally is Ultra Petroleum (UPL), whose shares were recently up more than 60%. To be sure, Ultra Petroleum's rally is also due in part to it announcing on Wednesday that it scored a waiver from its lenders, which postpones the $102 million in debt and interest payments it owed on Tuesday, as well as forgives certain other potential events of default between March 1 and April 30. Shares of Ultra Petroleum, which still trade for less than $1.50, rallied 97% on Wednesday. (For information on the waiver, here is a recent report from The Deal.)
Shares of Chesapeake Energy (CHK) are the next biggest gainer -- at one point up over 20% -- among Stressed Out companies. The Oklahoma-based oil and natural gas company has received increased attention over the last two days as former CEO Aubrey McClendon died in a single-car crash on Wednesday, one day after he was indicted by the U.S. Justice Department on bid-rigging charges during his time at the helm of Chesapeake. In a statement released Tuesday, after the charges against McClendon were announced, the company said it received conditional leniency and did not expect to face criminal prosecution or fines tied to the charges.
Tidewater (TDW), the Louisiana-based provider of offshore vessels, shares were up more than 10% after a World Bank tribunal ruled on Tuesday that Tidewater's subsidiaries are free to pursue the collection of an arbitration award of $37.2 million payable by Venezuela. The award was due from Venezuela expropriating 11 of Tidewater's vessels in 2009. While, a benefit to Tidewater, the company acknowledged in a statement released on Tuesday that collecting the award "may present significant practical challenges."
Elsewhere among energy related-companies in the Stressed Out index, Southwestern Energy (SWN) spiked 12% higher, Petrobras (PBR) added 11%, Weatherford (WFT) increased 7%, Encana (ECA) gained 8%, Transocean (RIG) grew by 5%, Vale (VALE) was up 4%, McDermott International (MDR) also added 4% and Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), which has energy interests, was flat.
For more on Real Money's 20 distressed companies to watch: