U.S. stocks closed lower on Monday despite encouraging economic data as the Hong Kong protests weighed on global markets.» Read More
Oil prices slipped as worries about global economic health outweighed concerns that U.S. refinery problems could hit supplies in the world's top consumer.
Oil has been unquestionably the most important macro-factor for the markets for the last half-decade. From Saudi Arabia to Wal-Mart, oil prices affect everyone. A warm winter can send heating oil prices tumbling, but an event in the Middle East can send crude skyrocketing.
Oil prices were steady at above $72 on Tuesday, with U.S. refinery shutdowns reviving supply concerns, just as the summer driving season draws to a close.
Benchmark oil prices edged upward Monday as traders focused on signs that the U.S. economy is in better shape than previously thought after a moderate sell-off earlier in the day to lock in profits.
Energy stocks are still a solid investment for the long haul, say market strategists, though rampant speculation and big price swings could make it a bumpy ride for investors.
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.
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.
A fire struck one of two crude units at Chevron's 325,000 barrels per day Pascagoula, Mississippi, refinery late Thursday, injuring no one but helping send gasoline prices nearly 2% higher.
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.
Marathon Oil said Tuesday it agreed to buy Canada's Western Oil Sands Inc. for about $5.56 billion, giving the U.S. oil company a foothold in one of the world's most promising streams of new crude oil.
Stocks ended at the lowest levels of the trading session after late buying efforts failed. "It's the end of a very difficult week with a critical selloff in the last 15 minutes of trading, but I think Secretary Paulson's comments will be studied over the weekend because they are very reassuring," said James Maguire, Sr., managing director at LaBranche & Co.
Chevron posted a better-than-expected 24 percent rise in quarterly earnings Friday on higher profits from its refineries and a gain from the sale of its stake in power company Dynegy.
Second-quarter earnings are mostly beating expectations so far, and much of that gain can be tied to growth overseas. For that reason, many analysts believe investors should be looking at big multinational companies with strong foreign business.
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U.S. crude oil slipped by midday trading in New York on Thursday as gasoline pulled back on news of refineries in Texas restarting and curbing supply worries, traders told Reuters.
Chevron's production for the first two months of the second quarter rose slightly from first-quarter levels, the second-largest U.S. oil company said after markets closed Tuesday.
Stocks posted the best weekly gains in three weeks, closing Friday near the best levels of the day as new economic data showed moderate jobs growth, easing worries of a slowing economy. "The jobs number was pretty decent, it was probably as good as we could have expected," said Charles Rotblut, market analyst at Zacks.com.
Any number of things, from energy prices to Fed policy to geopolitical events, could derail what's expected to be a solid second half.
Even with the July 4th holiday next week, analysts think the markets will be as jittery as ever. "The market is very nervous here," Steven Neimeth, portfolio manager at AIG SunAmerica Asset Management told CNBC.com. "Lower liquidity around the Fourth of July week could lead to greater volatility as a result of news events, whether it be the Middle East, oil or the credit markets. Any news, good or bad, is likely to have a heavy impact on the market."