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Energy stocks gain amid jump in oil prices following inventory data

Oil rigs, oil field
Alain Le Garsmeur | Getty Images

Energy was the top performing sector in the S&P 500 on Thursday, as oil prices surged following upbeat inventory data.

The sector saw its fourth consecutive daily gain for the first time since Aug. 18. The Energy Select SPDR Fund gained more than 1 percent, trading above its 30-day average volume of 15.1 million shares. The Fund closed having traded a cumulative volume of more than 17.9 million shares.

U.S. crude stocks dropped by 14.5 million barrels last week, the biggest weekly drop in stockpiles since January 1999, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Experts had expected an increase of 225,000 barrels.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained settled up 4.66 percent, or $2.12, at $47.62 per barrel on Thursday.

Top gainers in the group included Chesapeake Energy, Diamond Offshore Drilling and Murphy Oil, which gained about 13 percent, 9 percent and 7 percent, respectively, in intraday trading.

The energy sector is also the top performer in the S&P this year, gaining more than 17 percent.

— Reuters and CNBC's Gina Francolla contributed to this report.