Oil Update: Crude Ends the Week with a Bang

Oil gains $1.54 to settle at $63.56.
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It was a big day for crude futures, as the price of broke through the $63 mark and stayed there till the end.

Light crude for delivery in August tracked up for the third straight day, soaring by $1.54 to settle at $63.56 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Yesterday, the front-month contract added 48 cents to settle at $62.02.

If you're looking for a reason for the uptick, well, there was plenty to choose from. Several reports are eying political strife in Iran, but most oil-related headlines are leading with the

jaw-dropping housing starts numbers. The Commerce Department said new-home construction rose 3.6% during June, giving more hope that the economy may be turning a corner.

Stephen Schork, energy analyst and editor of

The Schork Report

, said the week that finished with a 6% rise in oil prices was a real tug-of-war between the bulls and bears.

"It looks like the bulls held the line," Schork said today. "I have to expect to see another run around $75."

Most of the major energy stocks jumped in the afternoon, with

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

closing in positive territory, up 6 cents at $68.52.

Occidental Petroleum

(OXY) - Get Report

was up 48 cents at $67.75 at the closing bell, while

Chevron

(CVX) - Get Report

gained 23 cents at $65.12 by the end of the day.

On the other hand,

Hess

(HES) - Get Report

lost 1.3%, or 64 cents, at $50.28.

Many of the major oil services companies also held on to their gains by the end of the day.

BJ Services

(BJS)

and

Schlumberger

(SLB) - Get Report

, which report earnings next week, each gained near 1% by the close.

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