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Crude Drifts After GDP

Chevron is lower despite a 12.5% rise in earnings.
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Updated from 12:12 p.m. EDT

Crude prices hovered Friday as a strong reading on third-quarter economic growth was written off as old news.

December crude rose 11 cents to $61.20 a barrel. Unleaded gasoline rose about three cents to $1.62 a gallon and natural gas sank 47 cents to $13.21 per million British thermal units. Heating oil rose about a penny to $1.86 per gallon.

The Commerce Department's first estimate of third-quarter gross domestic product showed a 3.8% gain Friday, helped by brisk consumer spending. The impact of Hurricane Katrina was difficult to boil down in the report, however, and traders drew no conclusions about its implications for energy demand.



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inched lower after posting a 12.5% rise in third quarter earnings despite Katrina's impact. The company's revenue rose about 33% to $53 billion in the quarter thanks to an average realized price of oil and equivalent of $53 a barrel, up from $40.

The stock fell 16 cents to $56.34.

"It's going to be a sleeper today," said Mike Fitzpatrick, energy analyst at Fimat USA. "It'll take some fresh fundamentals to push us out to one side or the other. I expect prices to be sloping gently lower."

The recovery of storm-battered refineries in the Gulf of Mexico continues. The U.S. Minerals Management Service said Thursday the gulf's shut-in oil production was about 1 million barrels of oil per day, the equivalent to 68.15% of the gulf's daily oil production. The shut-in gas production was 5.559 billion cubic feet per day, the equivalent to 55.59% of the gulf's daily gas production.

"That's a constant backdrop," Fitzpatrick said of the gulf recovery. "It's certainly a consideration, but repairs are proceeding apace."

On the international front,

Associated Press

reported the China, the second-largest oil-consumer in the world behind the United States, said its September imports rose 4.8% on year or an average 2.65 million barrels a day.

In other company news,

Devon Energy

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on Thursday reduced its fourth quarter production forecast from 56 million barrels of oil equivalent to 53 million because of the hurricane damage in the gulf. The Oklahoma City, Okla.-based energy company had previously lowered its third quarter forecast from 56 million barrels of oil equivalent to 54.6 million.

In recent trading,


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was up 2.40% to $62.36.

Exxon Mobil

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fell 0.76% to $56.02, and


(BP) - Get Free Report

added 1.27% to $65.98.