HOUSTON (AFX) -- Bearish U.S. crude supply data pressured energy stocks to a weaker finish Wednesday despite record earnings from companies like ConocoPhillips, Amerada Hess Corp. and Baker Hughes Inc.
The Amex Oil Index fell 2.3% to 1,127.17 points, while the Amex Natural Gas Index fell on 1.7% to 411.12 points. The Philadelphia Oil Service Index erased its gains at the end of the trading session, finishing 0.3% to 222.80 points.
The Energy Department said crude supplies fell for a second week, down 200,000 barrels to stand at 345 million barrels, which is 5.6% above the year-ago level. The API said inventories climbed 3.5 million barrels, taking its tally to 344.8 million.
Crude for June delivery closed down 95 cents at $71.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In earnings news, ConocoPhillips shed 1.6% to $67.15. The nation's No.3 oil company reported first-quarter earnings of $3.29 billion, or $2.34 a share, up from $2.91 billion, or $2.05 a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose to $47.9 billion from $38.9 billion.
The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson First Call was for a profit of $2.34 a share on revenue of $52.5 billion.
Amerada Hess Corp. fell 4.7% to $143.00. Amerada announced first-quarter earnings of $695 million, or $6.62 a share, more than triple the $219 million, or $2.12 a share, of the year-earlier period. Revenue increased to $7.46 billion from $5.07 billion.
Analysts expected profit of $4.79 a share on revenue of $6.15 billion.
In other news, Chevron Corp. declared a quarterly dividend of 52 cents per share Wednesday, up 15.5% from the previous dividend payment. The nation's No. 2 oil company also said at its shareholder's meeting in Houston that it expects production growth in excess of 3% a year over the next five years.
Chevron stock closed 0.3% lower at $60.22.
Marathon Oil Corp. increased its quarterly dividend by 7 cents, or 21.2%, to 40 cents a share. The Houston-based company's shares fell 1% to $81.89.
In the oil-services group, Baker Hughes Inc. rose 4% to $79.00 but was off a 52-week high of $81.10 reached earlier in the trading session. The company said first-quarter net income almost doubled to $339.2 million, or 99 cents a share, from $179.8 million, or 53 cents, in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue climbed 26% to $2.06 billion on a strong performance in its drilling and production services units.
The average forecast of analysts polled was for earnings of 79 cents a share.
National Oilwell Varco Inc.'s first-quarter net rose to $120.3 million, or 68 cents a share, from $35.6 million, or 33 cents, a year earlier. Excluding costs for the integration of Varco and for stock-based compensation, earnings were 74 cents, said the Houston maker of oil and gas drilling equipment. Revenue increased to $1.51 billion from $814.9 million.
Analysts had forecast earnings of 65 cents a share on revenue of $1.4 billion
The company's shares were flat at $68.74, retreating from an intra-day high of $72.49.
Rowan Cos. first-quarter net rose to $59.1 million, or 53 cents a share, from $43.4 million, or 40 cents. Analysts expected to see 53 cents a share. The Houston company said revenue rose to $299.8 million from $222.4 million.
Rowan Cos. Shares lost 2.9% to $44.96. This story was supplied by MarketWatch. For further information see www.marketwatch.com.