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The overall market, as measured by the S&P 500 index, delivered relatively steady gains this week, although the majority of the index's five-day return came in Thursday and Friday. Monday opened up with a sharp decline and then reversed and began to recover. The index completely recovered by Tuesday and then declined slightly into Wednesday. Wednesday proved to be relatively flat, which continued to Thursday's opening. Early on Thursday, though, the index surged upward where it remained until the end of the week. Oil prices were relatively flat until Thursday, although there was significant volatility on Monday. Beginning midday on Wednesday, oil prices began to surge upward and this continued until the end of the week. As usual, this had differing effects on the six offshore drilling stocks that I track in this weekly update series.

SeaDrill (NYSE:SDRL) opened on Monday, August 13 at $40.12. The stock closed at $41.25 in after hours trading on Friday, August 17. SeaDrill shareholders thus experienced a gain of $1.13 or 2.82% over the past week. SeaDrill opened at $38.12 on July 23, 2012. This gives the stock a four-week gain of $3.13 per share or 8.21%. SeaDrill will announce its second quarter earnings. I would not be surprised to see the stock go above its all-time high of $42.34 following this earnings report, which I expect to be quite good assuming that there are no significant negatives such as unrealized losses on the company's investment portfolio.

SDRL 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

SDRL 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Ensco (NYSE:ESV) opened at $55.33 on Monday, August 13. The stock closed at $57.38 in after hours trading on Friday, August 17. This gives the stock a gain of $2.05 or 3.70% over the past week. The stock opened at $50.90 on July 23. Stockholders in the company thus profited from a gain of $6.48 or 12.73% over the four-week period.

ESV 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

ESV 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Transocean (NYSE:RIG) opened at $48.41 on Monday, August 13. The stock closed at $49.46 in after hours trading on Friday, August 17. Transocean's shareholders thus saw a gain of $1.05 or 2.17% this week. The stock opened at $46.12 on July 23. This gives Transocean a gain of $3.34 or 7.24% over the trailing four-week period. Transocean shares surged on Thursday following an announcement from the company that it has secured higher dayrates for four rigs in its fleet. This promises to increase the company's revenues and profits going forward. It also points to the strength of the offshore drilling industry in general.

RIG 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

RIG 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Diamond Offshore (NYSE:DO) opened at $68.10 on Monday, August 13. The stock closed at $68.49 in after hours trading on Friday, August 17. This gives the stock a gain of $0.39 per share or 0.57% for the week. The stock opened at $64.88 on Monday, July 23. The stock thus had a trailing four-week gain of $3.61 per share or 5.56%. Diamond Offshore went ex-dividend on July 30, 2012. Shareholders as of that date will receive total dividends of $0.875. Thus, the company delivered a total gain of $4.485 or 6.91% to its investors over the trailing four-week period. Diamond Offshore announced this week that it has ordered a moored deepwater rig for a total cost of $370 million. This new rig should prove to be additive to Diamond Offshore's earnings beginning in the second or third quarter of 2014.

DO 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

DO 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Atwood Oceanics (NYSE:ATW) opened at $45.22 on Monday, August 13. The stock closed at $45.80 in after hours trading on Friday, August 17. This gives the stock a gain of $0.58 per share or 1.28% for the week. Atwood opened at $42.67 on July 23. Thus, shareholders in the company experienced a gain of $3.13 or 7.34% over the trailing four-week period.

ATW 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

ATW 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Noble Corp (NYSE:NE) opened the week at $38.28 on August 13, 2012. The stock closed at $38.58 in after hours trading on Friday, August 17. Thus shareholders experienced a gain of $0.30 or 0.78% for the week. Noble opened at $35.86 on July 23, 2012. Thus, the stock had a trailing four week gain of $2.72 or 7.59%. Noble went ex-dividend on August 2, 2012. Shareholders as of that date will be receiving a dividend payment of approximately $0.13. Thus, stockholders saw a gain of $2.85 or 7.95% over the trailing four-week period when the dividend is considered.

NE 5-Day Chart


Source: Fidelity Investments

NE 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

All six of these offshore drillers delivered a gain over the past week. Of these, Ensco delivered the largest percentage gain. Ensco significantly outpaced the second place company, SeaDrill. Ensco was also the best performer over the trailing four-week period, being the only stock to deliver a double-digit percentage gain. Diamond Offshore was the worst performing stock over the past week, returning only 0.57% to its investors. All six stocks delivered positive returns over the trailing four-week period as well, but the worst performing of these was Diamond Offshore (even after the company's dividend is considered). Overall, this is a very strong sector that looks likely to deliver further returns to investors going forward.

Source: Weekly Performance Update On 6 Offshore Drilling Stocks