Following a report showing a drop in oil stocks this morning, prices on oil futures slipped too. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude for August delivery dropped 58 cents to settle at $69.31 per barrel today. The move down came after the
contract's leap past the $71 mark this morning. Today, the Energy Information Administration said that, for the week ended that June 26, crude inventories dropped by 3.7 million barrels. That was well more than average estimates. But ahead of the July 4th weekend, the report also said gasoline supplies and distillate fuel inventories jumped by 2.3 million barrels and 2.9 million barrels, respectively. Many energy shares were tracking upwards today, though more than a few were shedding gains late. Exxon Mobil ( XOM) was holding on to its 1.2% gain in the afternoon. ConocoPhillips ( COP) was also in positive territory, up 8 cents, or 0.2%, at $42.14. Hess ( HES) and Occidental Petroleum ( OXY), which each spent part of the morning in positive territory, were down 1.1% and 0.6% in the afternoon.