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Sector Update: Energy Shares Gain; March Crude Contract Nears $86 a Barrel

NYMEX Benchmark Crude March: +$0.74 (+0.95%) to $85.80

Top Energy Stocks

XOM: -0.4%

CVX: +0.1%

COP: +1.3%

SLB: +0.4%

OXY: +0.4%

Energy shares are higher in mid-day trading as crude futures show signs of life for the second consecutive session. The March contract is now trading near $86 a barrel, up $0.74, or 0.95%, to $85.80.

In other energy futures, heating oil is down 0.4% to $2.76 a gallon while natural gas is down 1.22% to $3.87 per million British thermal units.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund ( USO ) is up 0.9% to $35.85. The United States Natural Gas ETF ( UNG ) is down 1.1% to $5.24.

In sector news, Apache ( APA ) reported a net of $670 million, or $1.77 per share, versus $582 million, or $1.72 per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, APA reported $2.19 per share, lower than the $2.45 average estimate that analysts had expected, according to Thomson Reuters.

Revenue rose 34.4% to $3.4 billion from $2.6 billion. Analysts' consensus estimate had placed quarterly revenue at $3.46 billion.

Higher production costs from facilities that it acquired in 2010, plus a decrease in production volumes, contributed to the revenue miss, the company said.

APA's oil and natural gas output in the fourth quarter averaged 728,657 barrels of oil equivalent( BOE ) per day, an increase from the prior year's 589,799 BOE per day. However, this was also below Barclays Capital's estimate of 747,000 BOE per day, according to Reuters.

Shares are up 1% to $121.72.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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