Oil Climbs Above $81

Natural gas rises nearly 14 cents to $7.41 per million British thermal units.
Author:
Publish date:

Energy futures climbed across the board Thursday in New York, and oil crossed back above $81 a barrel.

November crude advanced $1.50 to $81.44, and reformulated gasoline gained 6 cents to $2.05 a gallon. Heating oil was up 5 cents to $2.23 a gallon.

Near-term natural gas rose nearly 14 cents to $7.41 per million British thermal units.

There was little news to support the session's run-up in prices, according to Thomas Hartman, analyst at Altavest Worldwide Trading. U.S. economic data was subpar, with jobless claims that were higher than expected and factory orders that fell hard in August.

"The only things that could have provided a catalyst for higher prices were a slight fall in the value of the U.S. dollar and rumors of a new storm brewing in the Atlantic," Hartman said. "However, that storm hasn't even been rated a tropical depression yet."

Meanwhile, most energy stocks moved lower in the trading session.

ConocoPhillips

(COP) - Get Report

slipped 0.1% to $83.94, while

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

dropped 0.5% to $90.92.

Among stocks with ratings changes, Bank of America Securities downgraded shares of

Smith International

(SII)

and

Weatherford

(WFT) - Get Report

to neutral from buy. Still, both stocks edged higher.

Biofuel Energy

(BIOF)

was downgraded by JP Morgan to neutral from overweight, sending its shares 7% lower to $4.29. The firm also downgraded

Aventine Renewable Energy

(AVR)

to neutral from overweight, but its shares climbed 8% to $9.85.