Market watch, Nov. 17

Energy futures prices closed generally lower in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday. Short-term traders sold during the session to lock in profits after the market's rise during the last couple of sessions. Many analysts, however, believed the sentiment behind the scenes remained bullish.


Energy futures prices closed generally lower in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday.

The December contract for benchmark light, sweet crude fell 46� to $35.12/bbl, and the January contract fell 53� to $34.46/bbl.

Refined petroleum products ended mixed, with December home heating oil declining by 2.31� to finish at $1.0540/gal, while unleaded gasoline for the same month advanced by 0.32� to finish at 92.26�.

NYMEX natural gas for December delivery fell by 46.7� to rest at $5.80/Mcf.

Profit-taking was behind the market's decline. Short-term traders sold during the session to lock in profits after the market's rise during the last couple of sessions.

Meanwhile, NYMEX announced that it will raise the margins on its Henry hub natural gas contract at the close of business Friday.

In after-hours electronic access trading in New York, light, sweet crude was fetching $34.60/bbl for the December position and $34 for the January contract, both down from the NYMEX close.

In London Thursday, North Sea Brent crude oil futures slipped on the International Petroleum Exchange as the market moved down in line with the lower NYMEX values.

Forecasts of warmer weather in the northeast of the US�a key heating oil consuming area�triggered selling of crude oil, heating oil, and natural gas futures.

Brokers said the weather reports were used as a justification for selling after the rally pushed prices to nearly $34/bbl.

On Thursday, IPE January Brent futures settled at $32.77/bbl, down by 40� from the previous close. The day's high was $33.12, and the low was $32.80.

Also on the IPE, the December natural gas contract closed at the equivalent of $4.39/Mcf, up 13�.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven crudes ended at $31.87/bbl Thursday, compared with $32.36 the previous day.

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