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Oil: Is The "Bull" Market Here To Stay?

Wednesday, 20 Feb 2008 | 2:49 PM ET

This post is from guest blogger, CNBC energy producer Judy Gee.

The March oil contract tested $100 again before its expiration later today but traders on the floor say the contract to watch is April's. Trading as high as $99.70 earlier in the session, if April moves beyond $100, this bullish market may be here to stay--at least for now.

Defying bearish fundamentals, this market continues to charge ahead. But while the risks and rewards are real, the causes may not be so simple.

It might have been a refinery explosion that sparked the flames or a falling dollar that fanned the fire yesterday. Talk of an OPEC production cut, an ongoing Venezuelan saga and the alleged death of a Nigerian opposition leader all played a part. And today, all it took was a little bit of volatility ahead of a contract expiration and oil returned to another trading record, rising as high as $100.40. Whatever the reason, we are in record territory. But where do we go from here?

There is no justification for a fourth record run in a world of rising supply and falling demand. Nevertheless, this is a market that continues to be under the control of speculation. Just ask Stephen Schork, editor of The Schork Report, who notes a new surge in speculative money since the end of January and the beginning of February.

When asked if it's time to sell now that oil is trading at $100 again, Schork simply replied, "markets can remain illogical longer than you can remain solvent." Fundamentals aside, the last thing he recommends is selling at $100--especially when speculators are interested in driving prices as high as they can go. He is predicting that prices are headed even higher and expects the market can easily withstand oil at $103 or $104.

But what goes up, must eventually come down. And crude oil's rapid rise is no exception. Like all markets, this one, too, will inevitably correct.

So the question remains, is this the end of a rise in record fashion, or only just the beginning? Or perhaps as CNBC contributor John Kilduff once put it, this is the beginning of the end.

Questions? Comments? energysource@cnbc.com