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Oil prices slip as Saudis say they're boosting output

February 28, 2011 | 11:41 am

U.S. oil prices stabilized Monday for a third day after Saudi Arabia said it was making up for lost Libyan crude production.

The stock market was trying to rally, but key indexes were mixed after early gains.

All in all, it looks like markets are waiting for the next big development out of the Middle East, positive or negative.

Near-term crude oil futures in New York were at $97.43 a barrel at about 11:30 a.m. PST, down 45 cents from Friday.

The peak last week was $103.41 reached intraday on Thursday.

Oil in London was little changed at $112.09 a barrel, off from $112.14 on Friday.

A Saudi oil executive told Reuters that "all incremental needs requested by our customers have been met," although he said he couldn't provide hard numbers because it was a "moving picture."

About half of Libya's normal daily production of 1.6 million barrels has been cut, Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, told Reuters Insider TV, citing industry reports.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 67 points, or 0.6%, to 12,197 with about 90 minutes of trading to go. The Dow rose 62 points on Friday but lost 2.1% for the week, the biggest one-week loss since mid-November.

Broader stock indexes were mixed Monday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite was off 6 points, or 0.2%, to 2,775 after falling 1.9% last week.

-- Tom Petruno

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