DOE Inventory Data Swings Prices (OIH, USO, VLO)

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The Department of Energy is out with its weekly inventories data.  There appears to be some seasonality and weather issues, and it will be interesting to see these figures next week when you consider the Alaska Pipeline impact.  We are watching the key ETFs of Oil Services HOLDRs (NYSE: OIH) and the United States Oil (NYSE: USO) on the news and we are watching Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) on the refining front.

Crude Oil Stocks fell by -2.154 million barrels and inventories now sit at 333.112 million barrels; Dow Jones was expecting a drop by some -500,000 and we had penciled in a reading of up to -1 million on our own take.

Gasoline Stocks rose by 5.081 million barrels to 223.227 million barrels; Dow Jones was looking for a gain of +1.3 million barrels and we were expecting a gain of 1 to 2 million barrels.

Distillate Stocks gained +2.652 million barrels to 164.759 million barrels; Dow Jones had estimates of +600,000 barrels and as usual in distillates we had no projections of our own.

US refineries ran at 86.4% capacity versus 88% a week ago and versus Dow Jones estimates of 88%.  We were hoping for anything above 87% but we would note that the Alaska impact will be interesting to watch in the next two weeks.

We have now had three major storms hit the Northeast in just over two weeks.  There was even a report that 49 states had snow on the ground of some sort.  The big issues beyond these numbers may lie more on a regional basis for the next month.

NYMEX WTI Crude is now up by $1.08 at $92.19 per barrel.  The Oil Services HOLDRs (NYSE: OIH) is up 0.9% at $142.70 and the United States Oil (NYSE: USO) is up 0.35% at $39.02 after the DOE data.  Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) is up 1.95% at $24.63 after the refining report.

JON C. OGG