NEW YORK (
Stocks weren't the only assets getting a lift from
China's yuan revaluation announcement, as oil, too, rallied on the news. But crude futures pulled back at midday as investors reevaluated the repercussions.
On Saturday, China said it will allow the yuan to appreciate against the dollar following a two-year peg to the greenback. The peg has lent a hand to Chinese exporters of late by keeping costs of their goods artificially deflated. But as one of the globe's largest end users of oil, the currency loosening would make the price of overseas goods, particularly dollar-dominated crude, more enticing.
The headline helped propel crude prices in the morning. But the rally began petering out alongside stocks at midday. Phil Flynn, energy analyst at PFGBest, described the mood as "anticlimactic," saying market participants realized the move was not completely unexpected and many may have already priced it in. China's decision also raises some issues in his mind.
"Number one, if you look at the move on the face of it, it's good for commodities because it makes commodities cheaper in China and increases our exports. But if you think about it, it'll slow down China's exports, which could slow down growth," Flynn said. "I don't think the move is as bullish as people think."
The July crude oil contract, which had traded near the $79 a barrel mark earlier, was recently improving 38 cents at $77.56, while the more actively traded August delivery contract was gaining 13 cents at $78.30.
The dollar had been trading weaker against a group of currencies earlier in the session, but the dollar index was advancing 0.2% of late.
Energy stocks were helping lead the major averages higher today, as the NYSE Arca Oil index was up 0.6% and the Philadelphia Oil Service Sector index rose 0.3%. On the
, shares of
were trading 1% and 0.9% higher.
In further developments following the
oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the
in London reported that
BP will try to raise $50 billion to cover liabilities connected with the disaster. Separately, the firm said that costs associated with the spill have reached $2 billion thus far. Making matters worse on the public relations front,
CEO Tony Hayward drew criticism for spending time at a yacht racing event Saturday in England.
The services sector saw a merger headline today after
said in a press statement it was acquiring deepwater firm
, creating a joint entity with a market cap of $5.4 billion and 12,000 employees.
Elsewhere on the Nymex, July natural gas futures were sliding 14 cents at $4.86 per million British thermal units. The August heating oil contract was rising nearly a penny to trade at $2.15 a gallon, while August gasoline was trading nearly a penny lower at $2.13 a gallon.
--Written by Sung Moss in New York