Monday, November 8, 2010

Commodity Corner: Crude Oil, Natural Gas Finish Higher

December crude oil finished higher for the sixth consecutive day Monday. Oil settled at $87.06 a barrel, a 21 cent gain from Friday, as traders contemplated positive U.S. employment numbers. On Friday, the U.S. Labor Department announced that nonfarm private sector employment increased by 151,000 jobs last month. The country's official 9.6 percent unemployment rate remained unchanged, though.

Also applying upward pressure on the oil futures price was a stronger dollar. The euro lost ground to the greenback amid market concerns about mounting sovereign debt problems in Ireland, Spain, and Portugal. Crude oil traded from $85.96 to $87.49.

For the second time in as many weeks, front month natural gas settled above the $4.00 mark, $4.09 per thousand cubic feet, to be exact. Despite an ongoing high inventory environment, predictions of below normal temperatures in the Northeast spurred speculation that demand for gas-fired electricity will increase over the next two weeks.

Natural gas for December delivery peaked at $4.10 and bottomed out at $3.94. December gasoline remained flat at $2.18 a gallon Monday. It traded within a range from $2.15 to $2.19.

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