Market watch: Energy prices fell Monday; Wall Street faces closure

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Sept. 11 -- Both the New York Stock Exchange and the New York Mercantile Exchange were closed Tuesday morning after the bombing of the World Trade Center. It was unclear whether they would be able to reopen later this week.

Refineries and other large strategic targets around the US, particularly near the third most populous city Houston, were on alert Tuesday.

Energy futures prices declined in trading on NYMEX Monday. The October contract for light, sweet crude fell 40¢ to settle at $27.63/bbl. The November contract fell 34¢ to stand at $27.85/bbl. In after-hours electronic access trading in New York, light, sweet crude was fetching $27.64/bbl for the October position, slightly up from the NYMEX close.

The October home heating oil contract closed lower Monday, falling 0.67¢ to rest at 79.61¢/gal. Unleaded gasoline for the same month fell 0.67¢ to finish at 81.87¢/gal.

Also on Monday, NYMEX natural gas for October delivery fell 10.8¢ to end at $2.392/Mcf of gas.

Analysts maintained that profit taking was the major factor in the market's decline. Traders locked in their profits after the significant rise in prices seen during the previous session.

A relatively higher level of technical trading was also observed during the session. Mostly short-term traders participated, and smaller funds sold their positions on technical signals.

Meanwhile, in London Monday, North Sea Brent crude oil futures also slipped on profit taking related selling on the International Petroleum Exchange, but still closed comfortably above $27/bbl.

Brokers said the market appeared technically firm and fundamentals remained strong.

On Monday, IPE October Brent settled 24¢ lower at $27.45/bbl. The day's high was $27.75 and the low $27.40, a fairly narrow trading range.

However, trading on Tuesday became frantic after reports of the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings. Trading hit $30.65/bbl, according to news sources.

The price of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven crudes stood at $25.56/bbl Monday, compared with $25.52/bbl Friday.

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