NEW YORK (
) -- Not to be outdone
by news that the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
topped 10,000, oil, too, rose to new highs for the year.
Light, sweet crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose above $75 in the morning and bounded above the mystical mark again in the afternoon, ultimately settling at $75.18 per barrel after gaining $1.03. On Wednesday, it went as high as $75.40, marking its highest level since a year ago.
Propping up crude prices on Wednesday was a round of economic optimism pushed by a rally in equities. Leading the charge higher were
, which each reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings showings on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning.
The Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of currencies, also reached a year-long low in the morning. Gold, too, rose to an
all-time high in the morning.
Overhanging the bullish crude run of late, however, are still-elevated oil and fuel stockpiles. Those demand clues will come into better view today and tomorrow, as both the American Petroleum Institute and the Energy Department are readying release of their weekly oil inventory figures.
Analysts are expecting data to show a 2.2 million barrel jump in oil inventories, according to a Platts survey.
Several major oil stocks also joined in the equity-rally fun, with Dow stalwarts
charging higher, adding 1.4% and 1.8%, respectively.
was also higher by 2.2% in the afternoon.
Around the energy sector, on Tuesday
beefed up its natural gas production forecasts for 2009 and 2010 compared to prior estimates, and offered a healthy estimate for 2011. Still, the natural gas player was down nearly 2.7% in the afternoon. But others with hefty natural gas portfolios were holding steady in positive territory, with
moving higher by 2% and 0.2% each.
Refiners were having a mixed afternoon, with
shares moving lower after an analyst downgrade. Valero was changing hands down 35 cents, or 1.8%, at $18.83 before the closing bell.
-- Written by Sung Moss in New York
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