Crude oil spent much of the day with only modest movement before staging a late-day jump ahead of the extended holiday weekend in the U.S. and Britain.
July light sweet crude gained $1.02 to $65.20 a barrel at the New York Mercantile Exchange. Reformulated gasoline added 4 cents, finishing at $2.40 a gallon, and heating oil edged a penny higher to $1.94 a gallon.
The June natural gas contract lost 4 cents, closing at $7.64 per million British thermal units.
While crude prices have rebounded from their recent two-week lows, they remain well below the $68-a-barrel level reached in early April. Dennis Gartman, publisher of
The Gartman Letter
, attributed the easing to an abundance of supply of West Texas Intermediate crude at the Cushing, Okla., hub.
Elsewhere, tensions surrounding Iran's nuclear ambitions have eased slightly. The nine naval vessels that entered the Straight of Hormuz to the south of Iran Wednesday have passed through the straight and are now heading toward Kuwait, where they will drop off marines on their way to the Iraq war zone.
In a press conference Thursday, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that the battle group had engaged in 36 hours of war games in the Arabian Gulf. While the mission was a "show of force" in nature, it was only intended to take advantage of the "confluence of schedules" for the various ships, Gates said.
Energy stocks ended Friday's trading session mostly higher. The
CBOE Oil Index
gained 1.5% to 730.03.
added 1.6%, closing at $76.42.
rose 1.5% to $81.13 and
climbed 1.5% to $83.351.
Clean Energy Fuels
, a company that runs natural gas filling stations in the western U.S. and Canada, edged up 4 cents on their first day of trading. The initial public offering priced at $12 a share, below the $13 to $17 range that was expected. Oil magnate T. Boone Pickens is a leading investor in the company.
Among ratings moves, exploration and production outfit
was upgraded by Calyon Securities to buy from add. Shares rose 2.1% to $37.77.
was upgraded by Bank of America Securities to buy from neutral. Xcel advanced 2.1% to $22.92.
Calyon Securities downgraded
to add from buy. Apache gained 0.6% to $78.02, while Mariner fell fractionally to $24.25.