A sustained rally in oil prices would not only prop up energy companies, but could also lift other markets in need of a boost, one expert said Wednesday.
West Texas Intermediate crude neared $50 per barrel on Wednesday before going negative and ending the day down 1.4 percent, below $48. If the commodity can break through $51 per barrel, positive effects on energy companies may spread to broader markets, said Matt Maley, managing director and equity strategist at Miller Tabak.
"These oil companies, especially the smaller ones, are so dependent on higher oil prices. They'll have a tougher time even staying in business," Maley said on CNBC's "Power Lunch."