QE Prospects Lift Oil
Published on Wednesday, 06 June 2012 17:25 Written by Todd Shriber
Following the European Central Bank Meeting today and ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s congressional testimony on Thursday, riskier assets, oil included, rallied on increased speculation global central banks will entertain additional rounds of quantitative easing. NYMEX-traded crude for July delivery surged $1.49, or 1.8%, to $85.78. In London, Brent crude added $1.93, or 1.9%, to settle at $100.77 a barrel. That’s the first time in three trading sessions Brent, the global benchmark, closed above $100 per barrel.
Predictably, the dollar was crushed by this one-day risk on rally. The PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish (NYSE: UUP) lost almost 1% on volume that was well above the daily average. Crude’s gains were impressive on their own, but even more impressive when considering there was more glum inventory data to contend with. The Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude stocks fell by just 100,000 barrels last week, well below the decline of 500,000 barrels analysts expected. Inventories are still residing at 22-year highs and demand remains weak.
On that note, oil also got a lift from comments by Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A) CEO Peter Vosser. At the World Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Vosser said "The long-term fundamentals haven’t changed, which means that most probably, given energy-demand growth in the world in the longer term, supply will struggle to keep pace." Bloomberg reported. As CEO of Europe’s largest oil company, Vosser may be a tad biased, but the comments were a feather in the cap of oil bulls on Wednesday.
On what proved to be the best day for equities in several weeks, oil stocks enjoyed some much-needed relief. With the Dow Jones Industrial Average soaring almost 287 points, constituents Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX), the two largest U.S. oil companies, each soared more than 3%. The downtrodden independents, which we recently highlighted, got in on the act in big way as well. Apache (NYSE: APA) jumped more than 3% while rival Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC) added 5.6% on volume that was well above the daily average.
Not to rain on the parade, but news was not as good for oil equities. In fact, the news for oil services stocks was downright bad. After starting the day to the upside, Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) was halted in early afternoon trading pending news. When that news was released, it was bad. The world’s second-largest provider of oilfield services warned on second-quarter margins, citing weakness in the North American market.
This type of news has a way permeating the oil services sector rather than remaining contained to just the company reporting it. That is to say Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI) joined Halliburton with a close in the red and other oil services stocks closed off their highs of the day.
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