Following an avalanche of mixed data yesterday and this morning, crude prices jumped past $69 early on Thursday.
Light, sweet crude for August delivery is currently up 96 cents to come to $69.63 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the price on the futures contract reached as high as $69.93. Yesterday, the price settled at $68.67, losing 57 cents on the day.
So, what's affecting the price of oil this morning? Well, take your pick.
Investor actions throughout the market are being dictated by two surprising reports issued by the government today:
, though that's still better than the 5.7% prediction the government put out a month ago. But the Labor Department also released statistics showing that the number of those applying for unemployment benefits for the first time
. Many had expected a drop in initial claims.
Piling on to the mixed results was yesterday's oil inventory report. The Energy Information Administration said crude supplies slid more than expected by 3.8 million barrels for the week ended June 19. But the same report also showed that gasoline supplies swelled more than forecast, surging 3.9 million barrels.
Most eyes were on the Fed yesterday, as it
. The Federal Open Market Committee announced plans to hold its key interest rate steady at near 0%, while also remaining unchanged in its current plans to stimulate credit.
The European Central Bank said it would open its own economic spigots, lending $600 billion to banks to help unfreeze credit markets. Following these monetary policy moves, the euro and dollar remained locked in a battle royale, with each gaining on the other at various points since yesterday.
Whew! With that out of the way, many big oil stocks were tracking alongside the careful uptick in the markets this morning.
were climbing in the morning, gaining 29 cents to come to $68.74.
was up 2.5%, while
was seeing its price climb 1.7%
was a small uptick, landing at $29.19, or adding 2 cents, in the morning.
, a big early mover in oil services, saw its shares soar 7.3%.
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