Buffett firm cuts Conoco stake, buys into Phillips 66


NEW YORK -- A report that marquee investor Warren Buffett waded into shares of Phillips 66 sparked healthy gains in shares of the refiner on Friday, as energy stocked rallied with the broad equities market.

Shares of Phillips 66 jumped 5% after the Berkshire Hathaway founder and chief Buffett told Bloomberg News he reduced his holdings in ConocoPhillips and bought into Phillips 66, a recent newcomer to the S&P 500.

The Houston-based refiner finds itself in a current upswing in the refining space as low natural gas prices help keep costs lower to run hydrocrackers that make gasoline.

Taking aim at the looming earnings season for refiners, Barclays analysts said earlier this week that the group should exceed profit estimates.

In a bullish sign for second-quarter profits, US refining margins improved over conditions earlier in the year, as the cost of oil used to make petroleum producers fell well below $100/bbl.

Average refining margins for refiners improved by nearly $6/bbl above the first quarter, and $5.50/bbl better than the year-ago period, Barclays noted.

Buffett's disclosure of his investment in Phillips 66 comes just months after ConocoPhillips spun off the refining company.

Dow Jones Newswires

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