BANGKOK – Crude prices rose Wednesday as traders waded back into the oil market following a string of positive corporate earnings and an improved U.S. housing report.
Benchmark oil for June delivery was up 45 cents to $89.63 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 1 cent to close at $89.18 a barrel on the Nymex on Tuesday.
Strong earnings pushed all three major Wall Street indexes — the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite — higher Tuesday. Industry giants such as DuPont Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. reported results that were better than analysts expected. Additionally, housing data showed that sales of new homes increased 1.5 percent in March.
The rise in housing demand is also helping to boost prices, which tend to make homeowners feel wealthier and encourage more spending. That could drive up consumption of energy and prices of fuel.
Investors are now waiting for the latest data on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products. Data for the week ending April 19 is expected to show an increase of 1.4 million barrels in crude oil stocks, according to a survey of analysts by Platts.
Brent crude, which is used to price oil used by many U.S. refiners, rose 45 cents to $100.59 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:
— Gasoline rose 0 .9 cent to $2.72 per gallon.
— Heating oil rose 0.3 cent to $2.801 a gallon.
— Natural gas fell 1.7 cent to $4.221 per 1,000 cubic feet.