Crude oil futures moved slightly lower in early Wednesday trading after the Energy Information Administration released new inventory figures that showed a larger-than-expected build in crude oil stores.
West Texas crude for June delivery was down 21 cents at $121.63 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude was off 13 cents at $120.18. Reformulated gasoline was fractionally lower at $3.10 a gallon, and heating oil was down a bit at $3.35 a gallon.
Near-term natural gas slid 5 cents to $11.11 per million British thermal units.
Cramer: Disregard Oil Inventory
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Energy stocks were mostly in retreat.
was down 1.1% at $95.78, and
was 0.6% lower at $89.60.
were 1% weaker at $46.27, and
fell 1.2% to $38.69.
was 2.3% higher at $76.18, and
was down 0.5% to $56.68.
The downturn in energy futures came after a report that domestic crude oil stores grew by 5.65 million barrels during the week ended May 2, whereas analysts had forecast a 1.63 million-barrel increase, according to a survey conducted by
. At a total of 325.6 million barrels, U.S. crude stores now rest in the middle of their average range.
Motor gasoline stores rose by 794,000 barrels, compared with the 100,000-barrel increase that analysts predicted. Distillate inventories declined 107,000 barrels. Analysts were expecting a 1.1 million-barrel build.
Increased crude imports into the U.S., which averaged 10.6 million barrels a day and were 413,000 barrels a day higher than the previous week, were partly responsible for the increase in total crude stores.
Also a factor was sluggish U.S. refinery throughput, which declined by 99,000 barrels a day from the previous week to an average of 14.7 million barrels a day. When refineries do not process the additional oil that is imported into the U.S., domestic crude inventories will frequently show a gain.