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Oil and gasoline prices advanced Thursday after seesawing on a government report that surprised traders with bearish inventory data and bullish refinery utilization rates.
Oil set a 10-month high above $73 a barrel on Wednesday, supported by low U.S. fuel inventories and expectations of strong gasoline demand in the world's top consumer.
Any number of things, from energy prices to Fed policy to geopolitical events, could derail what's expected to be a solid second half.
Oil futures spiked above $70 a barrel on Thursday for the first time since Sept. 1 on a government report that showed gasoline inventories dropped unexpectedly as the summer driving season neared its peak.
Petro-Canada has decided to pull out of Venezuela and has reached an agreement with the state oil company on compensation for its oil investments, the Venezuelan government said.
Crude oil and gasoline prices settled higher on Wednesday after a government inventory report stoked concerns about the nation's gasoline supplies during the summer driving season.
Stock futures point lower this morning after a weak showing in equities markets worldwide. European stocks are trading lower, and Asian markets were mostly down overnight. Volatility will no doubt be the tone of the day, as the Fed starts its two-day meeting. Durable goods fell 2.8%, below expectations. The dollar slid after the report and Treasurys rallied.
Stocks finished lower in a choppy session that was overshadowed by concerns about the housing slowdown and a meltdown in the subprime mortgage industry. "The financials tend to lead the market down and that's what they were doing today," said Robert Albertson, chief strategist at Sandler O'Neill. "I think it goes well beyond subprime. "
U.S. oil giants Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips both left huge crude projects in Venezuela's Orinoco Belt after President Hugo Chavez nationalized them as part of his socialist revolution. Venezuela is the fourth biggest supplier of oil to the United States.
The main challengers to U.S. economic power -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- have overtaken the United States in dominating the global energy industry, according to a new study by Goldman Sachs.
Stocks ended lower as investors were rattled by concerns regarded leveraged mortgage securities held by two Bear Stearns hedge funds. "We will see a splash near term as some of these funds need to unwind positions in paper that really isn't traded too much," said Jack Ablin of Harris Private Bank.
John Kilduff, senior vice president and energy analyst at Man Financial, appeared on CNBC's special "Power Lunch at the Four Seasons" to give his outlook for oil and gasoline -- and to explain why easing tensions in Nigeria haven't made him bearish on either.
Stocks ended the week lower as investors were rattled by rising energy prices and worries about the potential fallout from two struggling mortgage securities funds managed by Bear Stearns.
Stocks closed higher as investors were encouraged by solid economic data amid a broad rally in technology stocks. "We were pretty oversold yesterday," said Tom Schrader, managing director of US listed trading at Stifel Nicolaus. "We had some good news from the tech sector which propelled the Nasdaq higher."
Stocks closed higher, with the Dow staging its biggest two-day gain since August 2006, as interest rates stabilized. "It's a little bit of a bounce because we got really oversold last week," said Tom Schrader, managing director of US listed trading at Stifel Nicolaus. "People are doing a little bargain hunting."
Stocks closed flat as the markets failed to hang onto a minor afternoon rally. "As volatility starts to pick up again, people have begun to realize that the probability of the Fed easing here is very, very low -- maybe even a better probability the Fed tightens here," said Richard Bernstein, chief investment strategist at Merrill Lynch.
ExxonMobil, which holds its annual meeting today, will attempt to allay shareholder concerns about environmental and governance issues, including whether Chairman Rex Tillerson should be reelected. One analyst said that despite public concern for the environment, which he attributes to higher energy prices and surging gas prices at the pump, Exxon's primary responsibility of making money for investors in the long term hasn't changed.
Norway's Statoil posted weaker-than-expected first-quarter profit due to lower oil and gas prices on Wednesday, but said it was poised to grow after resolving production problems at several North Sea fields.
Stocks closed moderately higher, with the Dow rising in late trading, as investors found encouragement in continued M&A news. "The private equity game, in my view, is in the early innings and corporate credit spreads are telling you that," said Jason Trennert, chief investment strategist at Strategas Research Partners.
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