Oil Shares Rally on Supply Concerns

A slew of oil producers and refiners shot higher Monday as evidence mounted that both crude and gasoline could be in short supply this summer amid steadily rising demand and lingering military tension in Iraq.

Gasoline futures touched an all-time high of $1.18 a gallon earlier in New York after the International Energy Agency predicted that worldwide gasoline usage would reach 80.3 million barrels a day this year, up 2.2% from 2003.

The forecast came on the heels of a separate survey that found the average price for self-serve gasoline rose about 2.5 cents to $1.80 a gallon last week. That was partly because of the recent runup in crude oil prices, according to the polltaker, Trilby Lundberg.

Crude oil futures added about 2% to $37.85 a barrel Monday.

All the price pressure was good for oil stocks, as measured by the Merrill Lynch Oil Services ( OIH) exchange-traded fund, up 2.3%, the Select Sector Energy ( XLE) ETF, up 2.1%, and the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Energy ( IYE) ETF, up 1.7%.

Among major individual names, ChevronTexaco ( CVX) added $1.70, or 1.8%, to $91.64; KCS ( KCS) added 41 cents, or 3.4%, to $11.63; ExxonMobil ( XOM) added 71 cents, or 1.7%, to $43.16; and ConocoPhillips ( COP) rose $1.44, or 2%, to $72.56.

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