Oil Futures Pass $60
Updated from 2:25 p.m. EST
Energy prices rose Wednesday as problems at North American refineries affected the supply of refined products and as the deadline for Iran to abide by a U.N. resolution to halt its nuclear research loomed.
The April contract for light, sweet crude ended the trading day up $1.23 to $60.07 a barrel at the New York Mercantile Exchange. The March contract has expired.
The April contract for natural gas finished up 3 cents at $7.65 per million British thermal units. Heating oil added 2 cents to close at $1.68 a gallon, and gasoline gained 3 cents, finishing at $1.70 a gallon.Refinery outages are generating some concern over the energy sector's ability to change its focus from winter heating oil to refined products such as gasoline, according to Tom Bentz, energy analyst at BNP Paribas Commodity Futures in New York. A fire shut in Valero's (VLO) McKee refinery in Sunray, Texas, on Friday. Valero now says it won't attempt a restart for several weeks. The refinery produces roughly 160,000 barrels a day, 54,000 barrels of which are refined products. Last week, a fire also struck Imperial Oil's (IMO) Nanticoke refinery in Canada, causing a gasoline shortage in the Ontario region. Regardless of the refinery issues, the current inventories of gasoline and other refined products in the U.S. are "comfortable," according to Bentz. Geopolitical tensions around the globe are also keeping energy prices somewhat elevated. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised Wednesday to continue to pursue uranium enrichment regardless of the possibility of a reaction by the international community. Today is the deadline for Iran to demonstrate to the U.N. that it's acting upon its resolution calling for a stoppage.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV