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The BP mess is awful but prices on oil stocks not nearly as tragic

By Dian Vujovich

I know people who think that BP’s oil spill will kill all the fish in the ocean. All the fish. I know others who think that all the underwater drilling scenes we see on TV are really fake and done in an aquarium. Those are the same people who thought our astronauts never really went to the moon and that landing was faked too. I also know people who are only concerned with the price on oil stocks. And for them I have some guidance.

I received an e-mail the other day from the Russell Investment Group in Washington State that focused on the performance of oil companies that make up the “integrated oil sector” of their Russell Global Index.

Since the oil spill on April 20, the performance of the stocks making up that segment was down 16.4 percent from April 20 through June 4. The worst hit company, British Petroleum, down 37 percent. The least affected was a Columbian oil company, ExoPetrol, off only 2 percent.

Here are a few of the oil companies in that index that have experienced the worst losses through June 4, along with a couple of company names you may be familiar with:

-BP PLC, from December 31, 2009 to April 20, 2010, the stock was up 3.9 percent. From April 20 to June 4, its per share price had fallen 37.3 percent.

-Two Russian oil company stocks, Gazpromneft OAO and Surgutneftegax-Pfd, up 3 percent and 20 percent respectively during the first part of the year, have both seen their shares fall about 31 percent since the day the oil spill began.

-Hess Corp had been up 7.9 percent but from April 20 to June 4 saw its per-share price fall 24.5 percent.

-Shares of Conoco Phillips had been up 12.4 percent year-to-date to April 20 and Chevron up 6.6 percent. By June 4 all gains had been erased and both stocks were down about 13 percent.

-Exxon Mobil had enjoyed of small gain of 1.1 percent up until 4/20 but its share price had fallen nearly 15 percent (14.8 percent) by June 4.

And the spill goes on and on and on.

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