Energy Stocks Outperform Market As Earnings Surprise On Upside

By Sue ChangMarketWatch Pulse

The S&P 500 energy sector bucked the broader market trend to rally on Thursday, bolstered by Transocean Ltd. which reported better-than-projected second-quarter earnings late Wednesday. Several notable energy companies, including Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. , Newfield Exploration Co. , and Pioneer Natural Resources Co. , also turned in results which beat expectations, defying concerns that weak energy earnings will weigh on the S&P 500. "Upside earnings surprises reported by companies in multiple sectors--led by the energy sector--accounted for the decrease in the [earnings] decline this past week," John Butters, senior earnings analyst at FactSet, said in a report. Other big energy gainers include Chesapeake Energy Corp. which announced a lower rig count and cost reductions and Ensco PLC which posted stronger-than expected earnings recently.

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