Oil prices slumped earlier today, though an Energy Department report released this morning said that U.S. crude inventories dropped by 3.9 million barrels last week. Analysts surveyed by Platts had expected only a 1.7 million barrel decline.

Reserves fell to 357.7 million barrels, or 1.1%, for the week ended June 12.

Light, sweet crude for July delivery was down 12 cents to $70.35 in the afternoon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, though earlier in the day crude prices slipped into the $69 area.

Still, most chatter today centered on other news from the U.S. Energy Information Administration report saying that gasoline reserves swelled 1.7%.


Amex Oil Index


was down 1.8% by the afternoon, while the

Philadelphia Oil Service Index

( OSX) was off 2.8%.

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Shares of

Exxon Mobil

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were changing hands in negative territory by the afternoon, off 50 cents at $71.13.


(SUN) - Get Sunoco LP Report


Murphy Oil

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also joined Exxon Mobil in the red, down 3.3% and 2.2% respectively.

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