Updated from 1:58 p.m. EDT
Oil prices ticked higher Tuesday after spending most of the session in the red, as forecasters continued to debate Hurricane Emily's destiny.
August crude closed up 14 cents to $57.46 a barrel on Nymex. Gasoline futures climbed 3 cents to $1.67 a gallon after falling 5 cents in the previous session.
Emily is currently a Category 1 storm, but weather forecasts say it could regain strength as it moves north toward the Texas coast. Mexico, which bore the brunt of the storm's landfall over the Yucatan Peninsula, has shut down a major oil producing facility called the Campache Sound for the past three days, halting the production of 2.95 million barrels a day,
Mexico is a major exporter of crude to the U.S., sending in about 1.7 million barrels a day.
Crude prices fell Monday to a two-week low as another bearish demand report, this time from OPEC, encouraged the bears.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in a report that global oil demand growth in 2005 would be 150,000 barrels a day less than it previously forecast, echoing a similar prediction last week from the International Energy Agency.
The two organizations differ, though, in their 2006 outlook. OPEC revised down its demand growth estimates for next year by 600,000 barrels a day, while the IEA expects demand to pick up, citing rebounding consumption in China and the OECD.
In the U.S., the Energy Department is scheduled to release its weekly inventory report on Wednesday. Analysts on average estimate distillate stocks, which include diesel, heating oil and jet fuel, added another 1.5 million barrels in the week ended July 15, while crude inventories have probably dropped 2.9 million barrels.
In earnings news, America's biggest coal producer,
, said its second quarter earnings more than doubled to $95.3 million, or 71 cents a share, driven by improved market conditions. "Coal markets are extremely strong, demand is running at record levels,
and customer inventories are at an all-time low," the company said in a statement. It also reported a 5% increase in coal mining operations. Shares jumped $3.82, or 6.9%, to $59.22.
Peabody's earnings included a $16.5 million gain on disposal of assets and a $13.4 pre-tax charge on a receivables allowance. According to Raymond James, these issues are likely to shave off a few pennies from the reported results.
Lone Star Technologies
, which manufactures tubular products that are used in oil and natural gas wells, said second quarter income rose to $63.5 million, or $2.09 a share, from $32.2 million, or $1.11 a share, a year ago. Excluding a one-time gain, second quarter results were $1.86 a share, beating the Thomson First Call consensus by 21 cents. Shares spiked $3.51, or 7.5%, to $50.51.
Elsewhere, in the liquefied natural gas realm,
signed a deal with
for the engineering and design of the Greater Gorgon Downstream LNG Project in Western Australia. The project includes two LNG processing facilities, each with a capacity of 5 million tons a year. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Shares of Halliburton soared $2.16, or 4.7%, to $48.58.
The natural gas and oil producer
said Tuesday it hired Marshal Smith as its new CFO. It also said an oil drilling project in Bohai Bay, China, in which it has a 9% working interest, began producing at a rate of 9,000 barrels a day from two wells, while two additional wells are planned to start producing by the end of August. Shares climbed $2.08 cents, or 6.3%, to $35.26.
Shares of the major oil producers were mixed Tuesday.
rose 0.5%, Chevron added 1%,
dropped 2.2%, and