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Crude Futures on the March Again

After retreating Thursday, futures have made back most of their losses ahead of the long weekend.

Crude oil is resuming its upward trajectory after taking a one-day breather on Thursday's trading session at the New York Mercantile Exchange.

West Texas crude for July delivery has now retraced most of the losses it incurred yesterday, gaining $2.04 at $132.85 a barrel. Brent is up $2.56 at $133.07 a barrel.

Reformulated gasoline is up 6 cents at $3.39 a gallon, while heating oil has risen 4 cents to $3.99 a gallon. Near-term natural gas is moving ahead 8 cents at $11.78 per million British thermal units.

Crude futures rarely decline in price on the Friday before a three day weekend. When traders are forced away from the crude pit for an abnormal time period, they tend to first position the market in a way that alleviates their own risk exposure. "In today's hysterical environment, too many things can go wrong" says Stephen Schork, publisher of

The Schork Report


"Nigerian rebels could sabotage another oil terminal, or another large oil pipeline here in the U.S. could burst," Schork said.

The 2008 hurricane season and its potential threat to oil supplies is also suddenly turning into a popular topic of conversation, and is being reported as an engine behind today's run-up in crude. Those who are joining in on the discussion are evidently not too bothered by the announcement made earlier this week by weather experts that the season will likely be squarely in the normal range.

Elsewhere in the energy space,


(HAL) - Get Halliburton Company (HAL) Report

announced its

intentions to acquire

its British rival

Expro International

for 1.7 billion British pounds sterling. Expro had already accepted a lower offer from Goldman Sachs and Candover, a private equity firm, last April. Expro was quick to say that the Halliburton offer "does not amount to a firm intention to make an offer and is subject to certain preconditions."

TheStreet Recommends

Coming at the end of a period when the price of oil rose by more than $20 a barrel in a mere 15 days of trading, the news of the Halliburton/Expro deal didn't seem to pack much of a punch.

Meanwhile, energy stocks are moving broadly lower. Among the integrateds,


(BP) - Get BP p.l.c. Sponsored ADR Report

was recently down 1.3% at $75.12,


(CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report

was losing 0.7% to $101.19, and shares of

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report

were down 1.2% at $91.40.

The U.S. domestic E&P space was taking an even bigger hit.


(APA) - Get Apache Corporation Report

was last trading 3.6% lower at $138.61,

Anadarko Petroleum

(APC) - Get Anadarko Petroleum Corporation Report

was losing 3% at $76.08,

Devon Energy

(DVN) - Get Devon Energy Corporation Report

was 3.7% off at $118.52, and

Occidental Petroleum

(OXY) - Get Occidental Petroleum Corporation Report

was down 2.9% at $93.22.


U.S. Oil Fund ETF

(USO) - Get United States Oil Fund LP Report

, which tends to trade in tight correlation with the price of WTI futures on the Nymex, was sporting a 0.6% gain at $106.30.