For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – April 9, 2010 – announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Sunoco Inc. (SUN), Valero Energy Corp. (VLO), Western Refining Inc. (WNR), Chevron Corp. (CVX) and ConocoPhillips (COP).

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Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

EIA Reports Bearish Inventory Data

The big gain in refinery use (almost 2%) is putting further pressure on the crack spread (or refiners’ profit margin), which are already squeezed. Domestic refiners are reeling under the specter of a continued glut in global fuel supplies with stocks of crude oil and petroleum products remaining at unusually high levels for this time of the year. In recent times, rising crude oil prices have added to their miseries by increasing the cost of production.

Refining margins were significantly lower last year, especially in the fourth quarter, as a result of narrower spreads on crude oil and oil products. We believe that this imbalance between supply and demand will remain in place over the coming 6 – 12 months and negatively impact the bottom line. As such, we have a bearish stance on oil refiners like Sunoco Inc. (SUN), Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) and Western Refining Inc. (WNR).

Firms like Chevron Corp. (CVX) and ConocoPhillips (COP) — oil majors that have significant refining operations — are also expected to remain under pressure until pricing and demand improve. The companies have scaled back their worldwide downstream operations, as they think that oil refining margins are unlikely to improve substantially this year. Profitability has collapsed in recent times due to the global economic rout and a glut of new capacity in the emerging economies of Asia and the Middle East.

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