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) -- Marking an about-face from days of losses, Crude futures were gaining today following a mix of data and as oil watchers await a statement from the Federal Reserve.

Light, sweet crude for delivery in September was gaining $1.21 at $70.66 on the New York Mercantile Exchange today. Yesterday, the contract slid below $70 to settle at $69.45 after losing $1.15.

This morning, the Commerce Department served up some evidence of increasing demand in reporting that oil imports jumped in June.

But the uptick in oil prices came despite another report from the Energy Department showing that crude inventories swelled last by 2.5 million barrels. Most expected the Energy Information Administration to show a much smaller build.

Later this afternoon, the Fed is expected to release it's policy statement outlining its views on the economy. The Fed's Open Market Committee has been meeting for the past two days. Though the group isn't expected to raise its key interest rate, investors will be parsing apart the language looking for economic recovery clues. Oil investors will be paying close attention, as a Fed move may have an effect on the value of the dollar, which in turn have been linked to swinging oil prices.

Turning to oil stocks, all of the majors were tracking in positive territory.

Exxon Mobil

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was up $1.07, or 1.6%, to $69.20 by early afternoon.

Royal Dutch Shell


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was rising nearly 2%, gaining $1 at $52.76.

Not to be outdone,

Marathon Oil

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(CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report



(COP) - Get ConocoPhillips Report

were also gaining on the day, up 2.6%, 1.6%, and 1%, respectively.

-- Reported by Sung Moss in New York

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