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The overall stock market, as measured by the S&P 500 index, was up over the past week. The primary reason for this was an announcement by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that the central bank will begin buying $40 billion worth of mortgage backed securities every month for an indefinite period. This is evidenced due to timing. The index was flat in the days leading up to the announcement and then began shooting up immediately following it. The Federal Reserve's announcement had similar effects on other risk assets such as crude oil prices. Oil prices also were relatively flat and then began shooting up as soon as Chairman Bernanke announced the Fed's latest round of asset purchases. This had different, although generally positive, effects on the seven offshore drilling companies that I track in this weekly series.

SeaDrill (SDRL) opened on Monday, September 10 at $40.51. The stock closed at $41.27 in after hours trading on Friday, September 14. SeaDrill shareholders thus profited from a gain of $0.76 or 1.88% over the past week. SeaDrill opened at $41.10 on August 20, 2012. This gives the stock a trailing four-week gain of $0.41 per share or 1.00%. SeaDrill went ex-dividend on Tuesday, September 4. Shareholders as of market close the previous day (Friday, due to the market not being open on Monday) will be receiving a dividend of $0.84 per share. Therefore, SeaDrill shareholders witnessed a total gain of $1.25 or 3.04% over the trailing four-week period when the dividend is considered.

SDRL 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

SDRL 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Ensco (ESV) opened at $57.09 on Monday, September 10. The stock closed at $58.06 in after hours trading on Friday, September 14. Shareholders thus profited from a gain of $0.97 or 1.70% over the past week. The stock opened at $57.62 on August 20. Stockholders in the company thus profited from a gain of $0.44 or 0.76% over the trailing four-week period. Ensco went ex-dividend last week, on September 6. Shareholders as of the close of the market on September 5 will receive a dividend of $0.375. This dividend increases the company's trailing four-week gain to $0.815 or 1.41%. TheStreet Ratings service reiterated its buy recommendation on Ensco on Friday.

ESV 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

ESV 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Transocean (RIG) opened at $47.98 on Monday, September 10. The stock closed at $46.47 in after hours trading on Friday, September 14. Transocean's shareholders thus suffered a loss of $1.51 or 3.15% this week. The stock opened at $49.15 on August 20. This gives Transocean stock a loss of $2.68 or 5.45% over the trailing four-week period. Transocean thus bucked the trend for gains over the trailing week and four-week period and recorded a loss. This is likely due to reports that the Deepwater Horizon failed pre-spill tests. The company stated that a faulty cementing job was the reason for this.

RIG 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

RIG 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Diamond Offshore (DO) opened at $67.29 on Monday, September 10. The stock closed at $69.35 in after hours trading on Friday, September 14. Shareholders of Diamond Offshore thus profited from a gain of $2.06 per share or 3.06% for the week. The stock opened at $68.63 on Monday, August 20. The stock thus had a trailing four-week gain of $0.72 per share or 1.05%.

DO 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

DO 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Atwood Oceanics (ATW) opened at $47.99 on Monday, September 10. The stock closed at $49.09 in after hours trading on Friday, September 14. This gives the stock a gain of $1.10 per share or 2.29% for the week. Atwood opened at $46.00 on August 20. Thus, shareholders in the company experienced a gain of $3.09 or 6.72% over the trailing four-week period.

ATW 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

ATW 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Noble Corp (NE) opened the week at $37.02 on September 10, 2012. The stock closed at $38.20 in after hours trading on Friday, September 14. Thus shareholders profited from a gain of $1.18 or 3.19% for the week. Noble opened at $38.67 on August 20, 2012. Thus, the stock had a trailing four week loss of $0.47 or 1.22%. Noble released an updated fleet status report this week. The report shows that the company contracted out the previously available Noble Gus Andros at a dayrate of $125,000 starting in late October. This will have a positive effect on earnings. The company will also be affected negatively by downtime in the third quarter.

NE 5-Day Chart


Source: Fidelity Investments

NE 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Pacific Drilling (PACD) opened the week at $9.70 on September 10, 2012. The stock closed at $10.38 in after hours trading on Friday, September 14. Thus, shareholders experienced a gain of $0.68 or 7.01% for the week. Pacific Drilling opened at $9.00 on August 20, 2012. Thus, the stock had a trailing four week gain of $1.38 or 15.33%.

PACD 5-Day Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

PACD 4-Week Chart

Source: Fidelity Investments

Pacific Drilling was far and away the winner this week. Not one of the other six stocks came anywhere close to matching its returns over the past week or trailing four-week periods. Noble and Diamond Offshore delivered the second and third-best performances over the past week. Transocean delivered the worst performance and was the only stock here to suffer a loss over the past week. Transocean also had the worst return over the trailing four week period. Transocean and Noble were the only stocks to suffer losses over the trailing four-week period.

Source: Weekly Performance Update On 7 Offshore Drilling Stocks

Additional disclosure: I may acquire a long position in PACD either directly or through options if an opportunity presents itself in the next 72 hours.