For the first time ever, crude-oil futures tagged the elusive $80-per-barrel mark today. Traders in the energy pits bid the contract higher following a decline of more than 7 million barrels in U.S. petroleum supplies in the weekly report from the Energy Department. Adding fuel to the fire was a sixth consecutive decline in gasoline inventories. At last check, the October contract for crude oil was up $1.58, or 2%, at $79.81 per barrel.
Oil's previous record high on an intraday basis was $78.70, set on August 1. According to analysts, traders were surprised to see the decline, as supplies have now dropped 14.5 million barrels from mid-August level. Still, U.S. crude supplies are still up about 1.4% since last year.
Oil related stocks are fairing quite well on the news, as the CBOE Oil Index (OIX) was last up 1.5%, while the AMEX Oil & Gas Index (XOI) had added 1.04%.