Updated with recent oil and stock price moves.

Crude futures were higher ahead of the Energy Information Administration's weekly oil inventory report, which is set to be released later Wednesday morning.

Light crude for August delivery gained $1.22 to $60.74 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, the contract settled at $59.52 after slipping another 17 cents, marking the lowest front-month contract settlement since mid-May.

Demand data will be on everyone's mind this morning. According to a survey by Platts, analysts are expecting inventory numbers from the EIA to show a 750,000 barrel gasoline inventory rise last week, while also projecting that crude inventories fell by 2.1 million barrels.

On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute, an oil industry group, said crude stocks dropped less than expected, but gasoline inventories also fell.

In stock news, Exxon Mobil ( XOM) shares finished Tuesday up 0.8%, or 52 cents, to end the day at $66.22. Just after the opening bell today, shares were up another 2.2%.

BP ( BP) gained 0.4%, or 20 cents, to $46.60 on Tuesday and were up another 3% this morning. Hess ( HES) added 1.5%, or 74 cents, to $49.35 yesterday. Today, it was adding another 2.1% in the early going.

The NYSE Arca Oil Index was gaining 2.2% this morning.
Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

If you liked this article you might like

These Stocks Pay You to Own Them

Dow, S&P 500 Set New Records as Fed Moves to Unwind Balance Sheet

Stocks In Negative Territory as Chances for December Hike Surge

Energy Stocks Lead a Neutral Market Even After Oil Inventories Spike

Energy Takes a Backseat as Crude Oil Stabilizes Under $50