Is Goldman Sachs Bullish on the Energy Sector?

Thursday may have been mixed day for stocks in general, but the energy sector bucked that trend. Despite the ongoing litigation dragging down Transocean (NYSE:RIG) and BP (NYSE:BP), energy shares buoyed the S&P up 0.09 percent with a combined gain of half a percent across the sector.

Investor confidence swelled after Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) released a research note to clients, seen by The Wall Street Journal, saying that January marked a “turnaround” in profitability for the group. The firm’s Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein — often described as the pied piper of the sell-side — lent his opinion on the energy sector to CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Tuesday. Unlike Obama’s State of the Union Address, which described the potential of the upcoming automated spending cuts in terms like sudden, harsh, and arbitrary, Blankfein’s assessment presented a very different view of the United States’ current economic situation. In fact, he didn’t seem worried at all.

He made no attempt to deny that Congress’ unending, and seemingly never progressing, debates over how to best reach a proposal to lower the federal deficit was a problem. He called the political wrangling “difficult,” but that did not prevent him from making a bullish prediction; financial uncertainty is not causing him any lost sleep or doubt the strength of the energy sector…
The “economic underpinnings are actually better than they have been for some time,” he said in the interview. “We could be on the threshold of a bull market.” The key to his bullish market, along with extremely low interest rates and the improving housing market, is the energy sector. He described the current U.S energy situation as “terrific,” and commented that the sector could boost manufacturing and create jobs in the near future.

While one day of noticeable gains does not make a trend, the energy sector seemed to be following the course he set out earlier this week. On Thursday, shares of Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) advanced $2.48, or 6.1 percent, to $43.32 per share, while Nabors Industries (NYSE:NBR) gained 76 cents, or 4.4 percent, rising to $17.92. Coal companies, Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE:ANR) and Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU), followed in suit, adding 14 percent and 4.5 percent respectively.

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