NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- There's volatile, and then there's whatever you call oil's performance of late. After Wednesday's nosedive, the black stuff rebounded sharply Thursday alongside the buoyant equities markets, clawing back nearly all of its losses from the previous session.

Light, sweet crude for delivery in September added $3.57 Thursday to settle at $66.92 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

On Wednesday, prices slid $3.88 following the Energy Information Administration's report of a bigger than expected surge in oil inventory. The contract lost nearly 6% on the day.

Exxon Mobil ( XOM) reported earnings Wednesday before the opening bell, and the news was anything but reassuring.

The world's largest oil company said profit plunged 66% in the second quarter thanks to cratering demand and slimmer refining margins. Down commodity prices since last summer's historic highs only added to the quarterly damage.

In afternoon action Thursday, Exxon Mobil shares were off 32 cents, or 0.5%, to $71.11.

Earlier, Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.A) also posted a a steep drop off in profit, to the tune of 67%. The company's American Depositary Receipts were tracking in positive territory in the afternoon, up 32 cents, or 0.6%, at $52.78.

Next up is Chevron ( CVX), which will report its earnings before the market opens Friday. Shares were up 1.8% Thursday.

Stocks throughout most of the energy sector had gained ground by Thursday afternoon, however, with Marathon Oil ( MRO) and Murphy Oil ( MUR) up over 2.7% and 2.5%, respectively.

Shares of ConocoPhillips ( COP), which reported its own quarterly profit drop Wednesday, was up 1.4%.

-- Reported by Sung Moss in New York
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