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Nat Gas Soars on Slimmer Storage Gains

Stocks in this article: CVX XOM DO

The U.S. Oil Fund (USO) ETF finished mildly higher, up by 0.07%.

Among related equities, the NYSE Arca Oil index was slipped 0.5%, while the Philadelphia Oil Service Sector index rose 1.6%.

Chevron (CVX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM) were among the handful of stocks putting the most pressure on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which turned positive in the last half-hour of trading. Chevron fell 0.9% while Exxon lost 0.5%.

Earlier, Diamond Offshore Drilling (DO) said earnings backtracked from year-ago levels, but it neverthless managed to surpass forecasts. Still, the offshore contractor cut its special dividend, tying it to an expected "decline in renewal contract dayrates from peak levels," according to the release, which sent shares tumbling to finish 5.4% lower.

ENSCO (ESV) shares gained 4.1% on the day after the driller announced upbeat first-quarter earnings and an increased dividend.

Oilfield services company Schlumberger (SLB) is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings Friday morning. Analysts are anticipating a profit of 61 cents a share. Its stock added 0.2% ahead of the report.

Also on the Nymex, June heating oil added a penny, or 0.5%, to settle at $2.24 a gallon. The June gasoline contract also finished a penny higher, or up by 0.6%, to settle at $2.31 a gallon.

-- Written by Sung Moss and Melinda Peer in New York.

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