SINGAPORE, March 11- Brent futures were steady on Tuesday and held above $108 a barrel as a worsening crisis over Ukraine stoked supply disruption fears, while concerns over demand growth from the world's two biggest oil consumers kept a lid on gains.» Read More
Oil nudged up from steep losses on Wednesday as traders looked toward an expected decline in weekly U.S. crude and gasoline stocks after discounting the threat of a significantly weakened Hurricane Dean to oil flows.
Woodside Petroleum, Australia's largest independent oil and gas producer, reported a 10.6% rise in first-half net profit on Wednesday, due to higher output, and reaffirmed its 2007 production forecast.
U.S. stocks ended mixed as the investors looked for signs that the Federal Reserve may cut interest rates again soon. "I think it's encouraging that we are kind of stabilizing after last week's turmoil," said Alec Young, equity market strategist at Standard & Poor's.
Crude oil prices closed below $70 per barrel Tuesday, as Hurricane Dean weakened from Category 3 to Category 1, making it appear that the storm will have no lasting effect on Gulf of Mexico oil production.
Exxon Mobil has delayed work on the 71,600 barrel per day gasoline-making fluid catalytic cracking unit at its 188,160 barrel per day refinery in Chalmette, La., trade sources said on Tuesday.
Kazakhstan threatened on Tuesday to revoke an Eni-led consortium's permit to exploit the giant offshore Kashagan oilfield due to environmental law violations.
U.S. stocks ended mixed but were well off the day's lows amid sustained credit market worries. "We're probably through the brunt of the volatility stage," said Keith Wirtz, chief investment officer at Fifth Third Asset Management.
Oil fell more than $1.50 on Monday after forecasts projected Hurricane Dean would skirt to the south of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico that is home to half of U.S. refining capacity and pumps a third of its oil.
Wall Street is set for a higher open after world stock markets rebounded in a Fed-inspired relief rally. Tokyo stocks were up 3%, the biggest gain in more than a year, in its first trading day since the Fed move. European stock markets, up sharply Friday, continue to rise this morning.
Investors hoping for the quiet dog days of August may find a reprieve from the market's summer storm next week, but they more likely will find themselves in markets tossed by a debate on the Fed's next move and the health of the economy.
Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas producers were evacuating offshore workers and shutting small amounts of production over the weekend as they watched powerful Hurricane Dean storm across the Caribbean Sea toward an entry into the Gulf next week.
Before the recent downturn in the U.S. stock market, portfolio strategists and market prognosticators said the resiliency of the markets was a key sign of positive times ahead.
Stocks rallied Friday as investors were encouraged by a cut in discount rates by the Fed. "As long as we can stay out of the woods with further credit problems, we can build from this base and go forward steadily," said James Maguire, Sr., managing director at LaBranche. "I think we've hit the bottom. We might fish around here for a bit, but I'm very confident."
Energy companies in the Gulf of Mexico stepped up evacuations of workers Friday ahead of the first Atlantic hurricane of 2007, even as most revised forecasts showed the storm missing oil and gas installations.
Oil prices jumped Friday after the U.S. Federal Reserve cut a key interest rate to calm financial markets and on concerns Hurricane Dean could hit Gulf of Mexico installations.
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A strong rally during the final half-hour of trading erased much of Wall Street's losses in another volatile trading session. The rebound was led by recently battered financial shares on optimism regulators may let Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two biggest U.S. mortgage funding companies, play a bigger role in steadying the ailing industry.
A fire broke out Thursday at Chevron's largest U.S. refinery in Pascagoula, Miss., but authorities said there were no immediate reports of injuries.
Oil dropped as much as $3 Thursday, as credit and economic fears pounded global financial markets and spurred investor selling.