Market watch, Feb. 6

Energy futures prices closed lower in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Monday. The March contract for light, sweet crude fell 64� to $30.55/bbl, while the April contract fell 52� to $29.87/bbl.


HOUSTON, Feb. 6�Energy futures prices closed lower in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Monday.

Predicted warmer weather had its effect. The March contract for natural gas tumbled $1.037 to $5.706/Mcf. The April contract fell 51.3� to $5.40/Mcf.

Other contracts followed: The March contract for light, sweet crude fell 64� to $30.55/bbl, while the April contract fell 52� to $29.87/bbl.

Refined petroleum products also ended weaker, with March home heating oil declining by 1.03� to settle at 81.11�/gal, while unleaded gasoline for the same month lost 0.87� to finish at 88.58�.

In after-hours electronic access trading in New York, light, sweet crude brought $30.48/bbl for the March position and $29.82 for the April contract, both down from the NYMEX close.

Meanwhile, in London Monday, North Sea Brent crude futures slipped in line with the weaker NYMEX values towards the close of trading on the International Petroleum Exchange.

Brokers said the market was in need of a technical correction downwards in any case, following the sharp rise to nearly $30/bbl, to allow for profit-taking.

But reports of warmer weather forecast for the US also helped encourage selling.

They noted that in Europe, more severe weather was forecast for the next few days, but this had little impact on prices, because the NYMEX market was firmly providing direction.

On Monday, IPE March Brent futures settled at $28.45/bbl, down by 74� from the previous close. The day's high was $29.20�where the contract opened�and the low was $28.08.

Also on the IPE, the March natural gas contract closed unchanged at the equivalent of $3.64/Mcf.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' basket of seven crudes stood at $26.79/bbl on Monday, compared with $26.58 the previous Friday.

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