[ENERGY STOCKS] The stocks rise with broad market

Shares of natural gas, oil producers and oil services companies rose Thursday, with oil prices falling back from a fresh record above $135 a barrel and the broad market advancing.

The Amex Oil Index (XOI: 1,626.49, +1.20, +0.1%) rose 0.4% to 1,632. The Amex Natural Gas Index (XNG: 729.15, -2.73, -0.4%) rose 0.4% to 735. The Philadelphia Oil Services Index ($OSX: 341.43, -3.68, -1.1%) rose 0.5% to 347. Sector leader ExxonMobil (XOM: 93.04, -0.63, -0.7%) rose 22 cents to $93.89.

Crude prices rose 65 cents to $133.82, but traded lower than the new record of $135.09 set earlier in the day. See Futures Movers. The Wall Street Journal reported the IEA is attempting to assess the condition of the world's top 400 oil fields. Its findings won't be released until November, but it is clear that future crude supplies could be far tighter than previously thought, the report notes.

The IEA has predicted previously that supplies of crude and other liquid fuels will keep pace with rising demand, topping 116 million barrels a day by 2030, up from around 87 million barrels a day currently, according to the report, which added that the agency now is concerned that aging oil fields and diminished investment mean that companies could struggle to surpass 100 million barrels a day over the next two decades.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA: 87.11, -0.21, -0.2%) was upgraded to buy from hold at ING, which also lifted its oil price estimates to $115 a barrel this year and next, up 21% and 44% from an earlier view, and its oil view for the long term by 50% to $90 a barrel.

StatoilHydro (STO: 42.70, +1.60, +3.9%) was upped to hold from sell. "The market continues to ignore fundamentals," the broker said. "Instead, forward curves assume straight-line demand growth with no substitution, efficiency gain or high price economic offsets. The market also sees only a limited supply-side response at best. While we remain cautious of the speculative support in prices, and the daily trading of up to six times daily oil demand, our view on oil industry cycles or medium-term supply/demand elasticity is unlikely to affect momentum."

Shares of Royal Dutch Shell fell 23 cents to $87.09. Statoil rose 4.5% to $42.94. Among coal shares, Alpha Natural (ANR: 73.00, +1.33, +1.9%) rose 3% to $73.82. Merrill Lynch upgraded the stock to buy from neutral.

Source: MarketWatch|by Steve Gelsi

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