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Tickers in this Article: UUP, UNG, SUN, ETP, APC, APA, XOM, CVX
New York, April 30th ( - At the end of last week, oil bulls got a couple of days relief as global markets glossed over another downgrade of Spain's credit rating to focus on U.S. earnings reports, helping send oil higher in the process. That trend ended today as oil futures declined modestly due to lingering concerns about Europe's sovereign debt crisis. NYMEX-traded crude for June delivery lost 46 cents to settle at $104.47 per barrel. In London, Brent crude for June delivery dropped 70 cents to close at $119.13 per barrel. The PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish (NYSE: UUP) lost just a penny on the day. Oil was hampered by an announcement that should not have come as a surprise: Spain is in a recession. The Euro Zone's fourth-largest economy has been sporting the region's largest unemployment rate for a couple of years, so news of recession there cannot be considered shocking. However, confirmation that Spain is in a recession confirms that it could take several years for developed Europe as a group to show any signs of noteworthy economic growth. Italy is also officially in a recession and many economists feel the same way about the U.K.

A government report that U.S. natural gas production slid 0.6% in February helped the United States Natural Gas (NYSE: UNG) gain 4.5% on strong volume. UNG has plunged almost 67% in the past year, but the ETF has jumped over 9% in the past week on declining natural gas production and speculation that the worst of the commodity's price woes are behind it.

In mergers and acquisitions news, shares of Sunoco (NYSE: SUN) surged 20.5% after Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE: ETP) agreed to acquire the company for $5.3 billion, a deal that values Sunoco at $50.13 per share. The acquisition includes nearly 8,000 miles of pipeline, as well as 4,900 gas stations in 24 Eastern states, according to the Associated Press. The combined company will have one of the largest pipeline networks in the U.S.

Shares of Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC), the second-largest U.S. independent oil and gas producer, were spotted high by nearly 1% in Monday's after-hours session after the Texas-based said its first-quarter profit jumped to $2.16 billion, or $4.28 a share, from $216 million, or 43 cents, a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 92 cents a share, topping 83-cent estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Anadarko rival, Apache (NYSE: APA) reports later this week. Dow components Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX), the two-largest U.S. oil companies, were both higher by 0.3% today despite a down day for the broader market.

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