(Updated with most recent oil and stock price moves.) If it's Wednesday, it must mean analysts and investors are digesting the newest weekly oil inventory figures out of the Energy Department. (Or at least they would be if everyone weren't in a tizzy over a few earnings reports.) Regardless, this afternoon, oil futures soared after the agency announced that crude inventories fell more than expected -- although the report also noted that gasoline inventories swelled more than expected. In one indicator of demand, a report from the Energy Information Administration showed that oil inventories slid 2.8 million barrels for the week ended July 10 to come to 344.5 million barrels. According to a survey by Platts, analysts had projected crude stocks to fall only 2.1 million barrels. Gasoline inventories, on the other hand, jumped to 214.6 million barrels last week, an increase of 1.5 million barrels. Analysts had expected only a 750,000 barrel uptick. Last Wednesday, a surprising
1.9 million-barrel jump in gasoline stocks helped lead a drop in oil futures on the day. According to the report, distillate fuel inventories also increased less than expected, by 600,000 barrels at 159.3 million barrels. After the report's release, light crude for August delivery was gaining, up $1.76 at $61.28 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Most of the oil majors were gaining in the morning on the heels of the news. Shares of Exxon Mobil ( XOM), Chevron ( CVX) and ConocoPhillips ( COP) were changing hands up 1.8%, 2.1% and 2.2%, respectively. Earlier in the day, ConocoPhillips announced a 47 cent per share quarterly dividend. Occidental Petroleum ( OXY) and Marathon Oil ( MRO) saw shares rise, gaining 2.5% and 2.3% so far. On the servicing side, Schlumberger ( SLB) was also gaining 3.9%, along with BJ Services ( BJS), which was up 4.2% so far on the day.