Oil Prices Hold Steady

Crude is up 1 cent at $69.10 a barrel.
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Crude prices remained buoyed by threats of worker strikes overseas and concerns about the upcoming weekly petroleum inventory report, but other energy products traded lower Tuesday.

July light sweet crude was up 1 cent at $69.10 a barrel at the New York Mercantile Exchange. Reformulated gasoline was 3 cents lower at $2.23 a gallon, and heating oil was down fractionally at $2.02 a gallon.

Natural gas lost 17 cents to $7.52 per million British thermal units.

Oil is now around a nine-month high. Helping keep crude up was word of two potential work stoppages that could soon disrupt supplies, one in Nigeria and the other in Brazil.

Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration will unveil new inventory figures Wednesday, the most important of which will be for gasoline. Analysts are expecting a 1-million-barrel build in gasoline stores. However, various refinery outages last week could lead to a smaller-than-expected build, which would likely be bearish for futures markets.

Energy stocks were mixed. The

CBOE Oil Index

was down fractionally at 773.93.


(COP) - Get Report

fell 0.5% to $80.27.


(CVX) - Get Report

climbed 0.2% to $83.52, and

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

slipped 0.2% to $86.13.


Sempra Energy

(SRE) - Get Report

was upgraded by Citigroup to buy from hold, lifting its shares 4.6% to $61.32.