NEW YORK (
) -- Crude oil futures broke a multiday losing streak Tuesday, as prices rebounded ahead of key demand data due out late today and early Wednesday.
Financial markets have been under pressure since the
Securities and Exchange Commission
announced fraud charges against
last week. On Monday,
crude lost ground because of lingering uncertainty surrounding the legal imbroglio, coupled with heightened jet fuel-demand concerns caused by the volcanic ash fallout in Europe.
But oil began recovering and picked up Tuesday, while the
major stock market averages traded moderately higher, building on a late-Monday surge, after Goldman offered strong first-quarter profit figures in the morning.
The May delivery crude contract, which is set to expire later today, was adding $1.80 to $83.25 a barrel. The more heavily traded June delivery contract was trading $1.22 higher at $84.35 a barrel.
"What we're really seeing is just a trimming of some of Monday's losses," said Darin Newsom, senior analyst at Telvent DTN, about today's rise in crude prices. "But all in all, we're still seeing bearish fundamentals."
Investors will get another peek at just how bearish those fundamentals remain as a collage of inventory data is scheduled for release. The industry's own American Petroleum Institute will release last week's supply data today at 4:30 p.m. EST, while the government's Energy Information Administration will unveil its own statistics on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EST.
Analysts surveyed by Platts expect last week's crude stockpiles to reflect a 300,000-barrel buildup, while distillates are forecast to rise by 840,000 barrels. Observers think gasoline supplies, which will be of particular interest to investors ahead of the summer driving season, rose by 100,000 barrels.
The higher prices were giving a lift to energy stocks, which, in turn, were helping prop up the rest of the market. The NYSE Arca Oil index was adding 1.6%. The servicing sector was showing particular strength, with the Philadelphia Oil Service Sector index improving 3.9%, led by a more than 4% surge in shares for each of
, shares of
were trading 0.8% and 1.2% higher, respectively.
Despite stumbling to a first-quarter loss on a slew of charges and missing adjusted earnings forecasts in the morning,
shares were adding 4.1%, or 66 cents, at $16.94, which a
news report attributed to upbeat profit margins.
Elsewhere on the Nymex, May natural gas was declining 4 cents to $3.90 per million British thermal units. The more heavily traded June heating oil contract was up 3 cents to $2.21 a gallon, while June gasoline was adding 4 cents to $2.31 a gallon.
--Written by Sung Moss in New York