In the refining segment the Big Three — Marathon Petroleum, Valero, and Phillips 66 — were up an average of 7.0%. Each of these companies was in positive territory for the quarter, but a smaller refiner — Holly Frontier — outperformed them all with a 16.7% gain.
The biggest lag on the sector continues to be depressed prices for oil and natural gas. Oil prices briefly surged in response to the attack in Saudi Arabia, but the market has quickly discounted that this reflects any increased risk to oil supplies. As such, the direction of oil prices will ultimately come down to global inventories and perception — which continues to be (wrongly) influenced by beliefs that the oil age is coming to an end.