(Crude oil story updated for American Petroleum Institute crude inventory report)NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The August crude oil contract broke a six-session losing streak on Wednesday, settling at $74.07, after trading as high as $74.32 intra-day. Crude had settled at $71.98 on Tuesday after a morning rally fizzled out late in the previous trading session. The move up in crude oil trading came just ahead of the two big weekly crude oil inventory reports. The first of the two reports was out after the market close on Wednesday, with a larger than anticipated decline in crude inventory reported by the American Petroleum Institute(API). The API reported a crude inventory decline of 7.3 million barrels of oil, twice the decline expected in an analyst survey conducted by Platts. The weekly API oil report also reported a decline of 100,000 barrels of gasoline and 1 million barrels of distillates, defying analyst forecasts that both would increase. The big data point for oil demand, though, is the closely watched Department of Energy report, due out Thursday morning. Analysts are forecasting a drop in crude stockpiles for the most recent week, ended June 2. The market is looking to the crude inventory reports as a sign of demand strength. Oil futures on Nymex rose in trading after the release of the API data. The Brent crude oil August contract was recently trading up by $2.06 to $73.51, after closing trading on Tuesday at $71.45.
BP), was up more than 2% -- extending a rally that began last week -- as reports surfaced on Wednesday that the embattled oil company was looking to sell as much as a 10% equity stake to Abu Dhabi. Total ( TOT) was up 2.8%, and ConocoPhillips ( COP) was up 3.5% on Wednesday afternoon, leading the major integrated oil sector gainers. Exxon Mobil ( XOM) was up by less than 1%, while Chevron ( CVX) and Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.A) were trading up in the range of 2% on Wednesday afternoon.
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