Oil futures rose Monday even as the market theorized that OPEC might be preparing to announce an increase in its production of crude.
The October West Texas intermediate contract climbed 79 cents to $77.49 a barrel in New York trading. Reformulated gasoline was little changed at $1.98 a gallon, and heating oil tacked on 3 cents to $2.17 a gallon.
The near-term natural gas contract surged 39 cents to $5.89 per million British thermal units.
According to Dennis Gartman, publisher of
The Gartman Letter
, Saudi Arabia has been uncharacteristically quiet ahead of Tuesday's OPEC meeting. Because Saudi Arabia tends to give guidance ahead of OPEC gatherings, its silence could suggest that the world's biggest oil exporter may call for a boost in output.
"The Saudis, along with the other Gulf states, have enormous exposure to weakening equity markets, and fear they've far more to lose as equities tumble than they will lose by selling their crude a bit less expensively," Gartman wrote in a research note.
Though a production increase would normally put downward pressure on prices, a
survey of traders and industry insiders indicated that OPEC is already pumping more than 1 million barrels a day above the group's quota. If that's the case, the downside effect of a higher production target would likely be mitigated.
Meanwhile, Pemex, the state-owned oil company of Mexico, said bombers set off six explosions and blew up three pipelines in Veracruz that carry oil, natural gas and propane.
Back in the U.S., stocks in the energy complex finished broadly lower. The
CBOE Oil Index
fell 0.5% to 749.67.
slid 0.8% to $82.19, and
declined 0.7% to $87.05.
dropped 1% to $84.86.
Among stocks with ratings changes,
was upgraded by BMO Capital Markets to outperform from market perform, sending its shares slightly higher to $30.94.
was downgraded by Jefferies & Co to hold from buy, and its shares fell 4.1% to $48.43.
Ferris Baker Watts reduced
Tortoise Energy Capital
Tortoise Energy Infrastructure
to neutral from buy. Tortoise Energy Capital fell 1.2%, while Tortoise Energy Infrastructure dropped 1.4%.