It was a big day for crude futures, as the price of broke through the $63 mark and stayed there till the end.

Light crude for delivery in August tracked up for the third straight day, soaring by $1.54 to settle at $63.56 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Yesterday, the front-month contract added 48 cents to settle at $62.02.

If you're looking for a reason for the uptick, well, there was plenty to choose from. Several reports are eying political strife in Iran, but most oil-related headlines are leading with the jaw-dropping housing starts numbers . The Commerce Department said new-home construction rose 3.6% during June, giving more hope that the economy may be turning a corner.

Stephen Schork, energy analyst and editor of The Schork Report, said the week that finished with a 6% rise in oil prices was a real tug-of-war between the bulls and bears.

"It looks like the bulls held the line," Schork said today. "I have to expect to see another run around $75."

Most of the major energy stocks jumped in the afternoon, with Exxon Mobil ( XOM) closing in positive territory, up 6 cents at $68.52. Occidental Petroleum ( OXY) was up 48 cents at $67.75 at the closing bell, while Chevron ( CVX) gained 23 cents at $65.12 by the end of the day.

On the other hand, Hess ( HES) lost 1.3%, or 64 cents, at $50.28.

Many of the major oil services companies also held on to their gains by the end of the day. BJ Services ( BJS) and Schlumberger ( SLB), which report earnings next week, each gained near 1% by the close.
Copyright 2009 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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