Market watch, Feb. 2

International energy markets rebounded Thursday as traders decided they had oversold natural gas and home heating oil, triggering technical buying on the New York Mercantile Exchange. With a low trading volume, technical buying succeeded in boosting prices more than otherwise would have been possible, analysts said.


International energy markets rebounded Thursday as traders decided they had oversold natural gas and home heating oil, triggering technical buying on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

With a low trading volume, technical buying succeeded in boosting prices more than otherwise would have been possible, analysts said.

Natural gas for March delivery jumped 67.3� to $6.38/Mcf on the NYMEX, more than making up Wednesday�s loss of 39�.

The March contract for home heating oil climbed 1.88� to 77.84�/gal in its first day of near-month trading. Unleaded gasoline for the same month jumped 2.39� to 85.01�/gal.

The March position for benchmark US light, sweet crude rose by $1.16 to $29.82/bbl on the NYMEX, while the April contract was up $1.10 to $29.06/bbl.

In London, the March contract for North Sea Brent crude jumped $1.44 to $28.10/bbl in late trading on the International Petroleum Exchange. Brokers said that contract had scarcely changed Thursday morning prior to the reopening of NYMEX floor trading. They expect prices to fall quickly toward $27/bbl or below.

With prices bound in a tight range for the last several days, analysts said, more volatility is needed in the markets.

The March natural gas contract gained 8� to the equivalent of $3.61/Mcf Thursday on the IPE.

The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries� basket of seven crudes increased 47� to $25.13/bbl.

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