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, Dec. 14, 2012

CHICAGO, Dec. 14, 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).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Surprise Build in U.S. Crude Stocks

The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory release showed that crude
stockpiles logged a surprise increase, as imports climbed and refinery demand
weakened. The report further revealed that refined product inventories –
gasoline and distillate – increased from their previous week levels.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) Petroleum Status Report,
containing data of 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
the businesses of the 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
rose by 843,000 barrels for the week ending December 7, 2012, following a drop
of 2.36 million barrels in the previous week.

The analysts surveyed by Platts had expected oil stocks to go down some 2.5
million barrels. An uptick in the level of imports and a slight drop in
refinery utilization rates led to the surprise stockpile build-up with the
world's biggest oil consumer.

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
– jumped 1.19 million barrels from the previous week's level to 46.82 million
barrels. Stocks are currently just under the all-time high of 47.78 million
barrels reached in June.

At 372.61 million barrels, current crude supplies are 11.5% above the
year-earlier level, and comfortably exceed the upper limit of the average for
this time of the year. The crude supply cover was down from 24.7 days in the
previous week to 24.5 days. In the year-ago period, the supply cover was 22.6
days.

Gasoline: Supplies of gasoline were up for the third time in as many weeks
despite improvement in domestic consumption and lower production. The increase
in gasoline inventories could be attributed to rising imports.

The 5 million barrels jump – double the analysts' projections for a 2.5
million barrels increase in supply level – took gasoline stockpiles up to
217.12 million barrels. However, notwithstanding this build, the existing
inventory level of the most widely used petroleum product is still 0.8% off
the year-earlier levels though it is in the upper half of the average range.

Distillate: Distillate fuel supplies (including diesel and heating oil) gained
2.99 million barrels last week, much higher than analysts' expectations for a
1.25 million barrels increase in inventory level. The sharp rise in distillate
fuel stocks – the second in 2 weeks – could be attributed to weaker demand and
higher imports, partially offset by lower production.

At 118.06 million barrels, distillate supplies are 16.5% below the year-ago
level and are well under the lower limit of the average range for this time of
the year.

Refinery Rates: Refinery utilization was down 0.2% from the prior week to
90.4%.

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