Market Journal

Energy futures prices continued to climb Dec. 30, the last trading day of 2005, with the February contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes gaining 72¢ to $61.04/bbl, up some 40% from price levels at the start of last year on the New York Mercantile Exchange.The February natural gas contract inched up by 0.2¢ to close at $11.23/MMbtu in the thinly traded yearend session. “NYMEX natural gas prices have averaged about $9/MMbtu [in 2005], compared with an average of $6.177/MMbtu in 2004,” said analysts at Enerfax Daily. “The US economy expanded at a 4.3% annual rate in the third quarter, the quickest pace since the start of last year,” they reported Jan....

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