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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Valero Energy and Tesoro

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Valero
                              Energy and Tesoro

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Sept. 28, 2012

CHICAGO, Sept. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Zacks.com announces the list of stocks
featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts
discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.
Stocks recently featured in the blog include ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM),
Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), Valero Energy Corp.
(NYSE:VLO) and Tesoro Corp. (NYSE:TSO).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

Get the most recent insight from Zacks Equity Research with the free Profit
from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5513

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Surprise Drop in Crude Oil Stocks

The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory release showed that crude
stockpiles dropped unexpectedly, as imports fell. The report further revealed
that refined product inventories – gasoline and distillate – dropped from
their week-ago levels, as demand strengthened. Meanwhile, refiners pulled back
their utilization rates by 1.5%.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) Petroleum Status Report, which
contains data for the previous week ending Friday, outlines information
regarding the weekly change in petroleum inventories held and produced by the
U.S., both locally and abroad.

The report provides an overview of the level of reserves and their movements,
thereby helping investors understand the demand/supply dynamics of petroleum
products. It is an indicator of current oil prices and volatility that affect
businesses of companies engaged in the oil and refining industry, such as
ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM), Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX), ConocoPhillips
(NYSE:COP), Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE:VLO) and Tesoro Corp. (NYSE:TSO).

Analysis of the Data

Crude Oil: The federal government's EIA report revealed that crude inventories
fell by 2.45 million barrels for the week ending September 21, 2012, following
a jump of 8.53 million barrels in the previous week.

The analysts surveyed by Platts had expected oil stocks to go up some 1.5
million barrels. A sharp drop in the level of imports led to the surprise
stockpile drawdown with the world's biggest oil consumer even as refiners
lowered their utilization rates.

In particular, crude inventories at the Cushing terminal in Oklahoma – the key
delivery hub for U.S. crude futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange
– edged down by 83,000 barrels from the previous week's level to 43.73 million
barrels. Stocks are currently just under the all-time high of 47.78 million
barrels reached in June.

At 365.18 million barrels, current crude supplies are 7.1% above the
year-earlier level, and exceeds the upper limit of the average for this time
of the year. The crude supply cover was up from 24.8 days in the previous week
to 25.0 days. In the year-ago period, the supply cover was 22.4 days.

Gasoline: Supplies of gasoline decreased for the ninth time in as many weeks
as domestic consumption improved and production fell. This was partially
offset by higher imports.

The 481,000 barrels drop – compared to analyst projections for an unchanged
supply level – took gasoline stockpiles down to 195.83 million barrels. As a
result of this decrease, the existing inventory level of the most widely used
petroleum product is now 8.9% off the year-earlier levels and is in the lower
limit of the average range.

Distillate: Distillate fuel supplies (including diesel and heating oil)
dropped by 482,000 barrels last week, against analyst expectations for a
1-million barrel increase in inventory level. The fall in distillate fuel
stocks – the second in as many weeks – could be attributed to stronger demand
and lower imports, partially offset by higher output.

At 127.75 million barrels, distillate supplies are 19.0% below the year-ago
level and are near the lower limit of the average range for this time of the
year.

Refinery Rates: Refinery utilization was down 1.5% from the prior week to
87.4%. The analysts were expecting the refinery run rate to remain unchanged.

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