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Oil Breaks Above $75

Natural gas gains 16 cents.

Energy futures firmed on Tuesday as a mixture of weather concerns and bullish jawboning from a key OPEC minister inspired buyers.

October light sweet crude climbed $1.04 to $75.08 a barrel in New York. Reformulated gasoline edged 3 cents higher to $1.99 a gallon, and heating oil rose 2 cents to $2.08 a gallon.

Natural gas gained 16 cents, closing at $5.63 per million British thermal units.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Felix made landfall in Honduras as a category 5 storm with winds over 160 miles an hour. Although the hurricane hasn't threatened oil installations in the Gulf of Mexico, it is reminding traders that the hurricane season is not over yet.

To strengthen this notion, a meteorologist at Colorado State University predicted that this season will see six more hurricanes develop, three of which will likely be "major."

Elsewhere, Qatar's minister of energy and industry told


over the weekend that OPEC will likely decide to keep oil production unchanged at its next meeting on Sept. 11.

Meanwhile, energy stocks were mostly higher, and the

CBOE Oil Index

climbed 1.9% to 758.


(COP) - Get Free Report

gained 1.9% to finish at $83.48.

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Free Report

rose 1.8% to $87.23, and


(HAL) - Get Free Report

added 1.2% to $34.99.

Among stock ratings changes,

Royal Dutch Shell


was upgraded by UBS to buy from neutral, sending its shares 3.2% higher to $79.80.

Plains Exploration


was upgraded by Credit Suisse to neutral from underperform, and its stock advanced 5.1% to $39.43.


(D) - Get Free Report

was downgraded by Bernstein to market perform from outperform. However, shares of Dominion rose 1% to $86.05.


(CHK) - Get Free Report

was cut by BMO Capital Markets to market perform from outperform, but the stock gained 1.7% to $32.82.