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Oil prices showed considerable strength over the past week. One major reason for this was Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's announcement that the Fed will begin buying $40 billion worth of agency mortgage-backed securities a month indefinitely. Bernanke also stated that the Federal Reserve will be keeping interest rates at historically low levels until the middle of 2015 at least. He also committed to "even stronger measures" should the unemployment rate remain elevated. This resulted in a market surge that affected all risk assets, including oil. We can see further evidence of this factor in the significant rise in the oil price by the dates. Oil prices were relatively flat until Thursday, the first trading day during which the Fed's intentions were known. The overall stock market, as measured by the S&P 500, reacted in a similar way to the Fed's announcement. The index was relatively flat until mid-day Thursday, when it shot up sharply. As always, this had different, but generally positive, effects on the stock prices of the six foreign oil and gas stocks that are tracked in this update series.

Statoil (NYSE:STO) opened at $25.73 on September 10, 2012. The stock closed at $26.98 in after hours trading on September 14, 2012. Stockholders in the company thus profited from a gain of $1.25 per ADR share or 4.86% over the week. Statoil opened at $25.12 on August 20, 2012. This gives the stock a trailing four-week gain of $1.86 or 7.40%. Statoil reported that it has suffered an outage that cut Norwegian gas production by 12.5 million cubic meters per day. This outage is expected to last for several days. This announcement had little effect on the company's stock price and it is also unlikely to have a significant effect on the company's earnings.

STO 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

STO 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

BP plc (NYSE:BP) opened the week at $42.02. The stock closed at $43.90 in after hours trading on September 14. BP's stockholders thus profited from a gain of $1.88 or 4.47% over the week. BP opened at $42.63 on August 20. Thus, shareholders of BP stock suffered witnessed a gain of $1.27 or 2.98% over the trailing four-week period. Attorney Generals in Louisiana and Mississippi issued new challenges over the past week stating that the settlement for the oil spill is insufficient to compensate victims in their respective states. BP also announced another series of asset sales over the past week, including one in the North Sea, which was sold to Royal Dutch Shell.

BP 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

BP 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Total S.A. (NYSE:TOT) opened on September 10 at $51.74 per share. The stock closed at $54.50 in after hours trading on September 14. This gives ADR shareholders a gain of $2.76 or 5.33% for the week. Total opened on August 20 at $49.69. Thus, stockholders have seen a gain of $4.81 or 9.68% over the past four weeks. Total will be trading ex-dividend this week, on September 19. Shareholders as of the market close on the previous day will receive a dividend of about $0.69 per share. Total will be attempting to boost its already substantial oil reserves by drilling as many as eight exploration wells in the Lake Albertine rift basin in Uganda by the end of 2012.

TOT 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

TOT 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Suncor (NYSE:SU) opened on September 10 at $32.99. The stock closed at $35.32 in after hours trading on September 14. This gives the stock a gain of $2.33 or 7.06% for the week. The stock opened on August 20, 2012 at $32.65. Thus, Suncor stock has experienced a gain of $2.67 or 8.18% over the trailing four week period. Suncor went ex-dividend on August 30, 2012. Shareholders as of market close on the previous day will receive a dividend payment of $0.13. Therefore, Suncor's gain over the trailing four-week period was $2.80 or 8.58% when the dividend is considered.

SU 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

SU 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) opened at $71.22 on September 10, 2012. The stock closed at $72.56 in after hours trading on Friday, September 14. Shareholders thus profited from a gain of $1.34 or 1.88% for the week. The stock opened at $70.42 on August 20, 2012. Shareholders thus experienced a gain of $2.14 per share or 3.04% over the trailing four-week period. Royal Dutch Shell is purchasing BP's 18.4% non-operator share of the Draugen field offshore Norway for $240 million in cash.

RDS.A 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

RDS.A 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Eni (NYSE:E) opened at $45.71 on September 10. The stock closed at $48.93 in after hours trading on Friday, September 10. Shareholders thus profited from a gain of $3.22 or 7.04% for the week. The stock opened at $43.99 on August 20, 2012. Shareholders thus profited from a gain of $4.94 per share or 11.23% over the trailing four-week period.

E 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

E 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Suncor Energy was the best performing stock of these six over the past week, with Italy's Eni in a very close second place. All six of the stocks delivered gains over the past week but Royal Dutch Shell had the smallest gain of the six. All six of these stocks also delivered gains over the trailing four-week period. Eni had the largest gain by a large margin. None of the others were even close. BP was the worst performer and as such, had the smallest gain of the group. This is likely due to the legal issues that continue to hang over the company following 2010's Macondo spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Source: Weekly Performance Update On 6 Foreign Integrated Oil And Gas Companies