Friday Relief Rally For Oil
Published on Friday, 22 June 2012 17:36 Written by Todd Shriber
After West Texas Intermediate fell to its lowest close since October 2011 and Brent closed at its lowest level since December 2010 on Thursday, oil futures snapped back on Friday. NYMEX-traded crude for August delivery rose $1.56 to 79.76 a barrel. In London, Brent crude jumped $1.75, or 2%, to settle at $90.98 a barrel. Futures slumped 7% in previous four trading days. A weaker dollar helped oil on Friday as well. The PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish (NYSE: UUP) closed modestly lower on light volume.
News of possible tropical cyclone in the Gulf of Mexico also helped oil rally. Traders know that the summer season is prime time for hurricanes and other tropical storms that can hamper offshore oil output, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico. Both Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC) and Murphy Oil (NYSE: MUR) announced the evacuation of non-essential personnel from the Gulf. Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A), Europe’s largest oil company, said it might also evacuate Gulf personnel.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said a low-pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico, home to 20 percent of U.S. oil production and 6 percent of natural output, had a 70 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone over the next two days, according to Reuters.
Oil may also have near-term upside because the European Union’s ban on Iranian oil imports is scheduled to begin July 1. While economic growth is barely existent throughout much of the EU, if the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank opt to engage in further quantitative easing, oil demand could tick higher.
On a decent day for stocks, most oil equities climbed higher. Harvest Natural Resources (NYSE: HNR) surged on strong volume after the company said it’s selling its stakes in Venezuelan oil fields to PT Pertamina, Indonesia’s national oil company, for $725 million in cash.
Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE: COG) added 4.5% on strong turnover after announcing t sold a 35% stake in its Pearsall Shale acreage in South Texas to Osaka Gas for $250 million. The Japanese firm will pay Cabot $125 million in cash and cover $125 million of Cabot’s future drilling costs.
Both Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX) saw volume that was well above the usual, but Exxon finished unchanged on the day while Chevron closed barely higher. Oil services names continue to struggle as the Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSE: OIH) slipped another half percent, coming within 24 cents of its 52-week low.
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