Inventories Slide, Lifting Crude Prices While Trump Worries Have Shares Mostly Lower

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories fell by 1.8 million barrels from the previous week, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. 

"At 520.8 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year," the report said. 

It was the sixth straight drawdown of reserves according to the EIA, and crude oil prices moved higher on the news of the trimmed stockpiles. 

The U.S. benchmark WTI grade added 1.1%, or 54 cents to trade at $49.20 near midday. Brent crude, the global benchmark grade traded in London, rose 1.3%, or 69 cents to $53.31. 

Oil settled at two-week highs earlier in the week after energy ministers from Russia and Saudi Arabia surprised markets by calling for an extension to an oil production cap agreement. An extension to the OPEC deal will be the main point of conversation when the 13 member countries meet in Vienna on May 25. The current agreement, established last November, is set to expire at the end of June.

A few shares moved higher in the Sector Select Energy Spyder ETF  ( XLE) following the news, but bearish market sentiment sparked by the increasingly erratic behavior of President Trump ruled the day, and more shares fell. 

Transocean  (RIG) shares led decliners with a decline of 21 cents, or 1.9% to $10.48. 

Late Tuesday Odeon Capital began coverage of Transocean with a sell rating, saying it has some issues with its debt structure and at the same time is trading at a premium to its peers.

 "On the whole, we believe the Company's decision to sell its jack-up fleet and newbuilds to Borr Drilling is negative as we expect a pick-up in demand for these assets before drillships and semisubmersibles,' the report said.

Valero (VLO) , National Oilwell Varco (NOV) and Cimarex  (XEC) all fell too.

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