NEW YORK (
) -- Crude oil futures finished 1% higher Wednesday despite weekly government data showing a surprise jump in inventories.
Oil stockpiles added 1.7 million barrels in the week ended June 11, the Energy Information Administration said Wednesday, bringing the total supply mark to 363.1 million barrels. The increase was an unwelcome surprise to analysts who were projecting a decrease of 1.75 million barrels, according to a Platts poll. The level was also much higher than the industry's own supply assessment. Late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute reported an additional 579,000 barrels to crude stockpiles.
Meanwhile, gasoline stocks, which had been expected to grow by 640,000 barrels, instead shed 700,000 barrels, according to the report. Distillate fuel supplies, on the other hand, rose by 1.8 million barrels, which was beyond estimates calling for a 760,000 barrel build-up.
On the Nymex, the July delivery contract weakened immediately after the report but settled 73 cents, or 1%, higher at $77.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. July heating oil closed up 4.16 cents, or 2% higher, at $2.11 a gallon.
Wednesday's macroeconomic releases gave a bleak view of the housing market as
housing starts fell 10% in May. The Federal Reserve's report on May industrial production and capacity utilization, however, came in much better than expected, jumping 1.2% higher and rising by a whole percentage point to 74.7%, respectively. The morning's report on
wholesale prices, meanwhile, showed that inflationary pressures remained muted in May.
shares closed up 1.4%, or 45 cents to $31.85 after the company's top executives met with President Obama and agreed to set up a $20 billion fund to cover damage claims. BP also said it would halt its dividend payment for the rest of 2010.
--Written by Melinda Peer in New York