Crude Gaining Early: Oil Alert

After a flat finish on Wednesday, oil futures were moving higher early Thursday.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Oil prices climbed early Thursday, following the release of inventory data from the Energy Department on Wednesday.

The front-month crude contract was trading at $69.05 a barrel, up $1 during the electronic trading session. On Wednesday, the price settled flat at $68.05.

Inventory figures from the Energy Information Administration showed that

oil stockpiles fell by a narrower-than-expected 400,000 barrels last week, while gasoline inventories plunged by a steeper-than-expected 3 million barrels.

Major oil stocks were mixed by closing on Wednesday. Shares of

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

and

Chevron

(CVX) - Get Report

tracked back by 0.3% and 0.6%, respectively, at the closing bell.

Marathon Oil

(MRO) - Get Report

also joined them just barely in the red, down 4 cents at $30.29.

On the other hand,

ConocoPhillips

(COP) - Get Report

,

BP

(BP) - Get Report

and

Royal Dutch Shell

(RDS.A)

all finished in positive territory, gaining 0.4%, 4.1% and 1.6%, respectively.

-- Written by Sung Moss in New York

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