Oil Futures End Higher
NEW YORK (AP) _ Oil futures prices finished higher in moderate trading Friday, buoyed by strength in the gasoline market.
Wholesale unleaded gasoline for November delivery finished 0.99 cent higher at 54.62 cents a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while December gained 1.07 cents to close at 53.92 cents.
The market got a lift early in the day from reports that a Chevron Corp. refinery in El Segundo, Calif., had shut down a catalytic cracking unit for repairs. The unit makes about 60,000 barrels a day of gasoline.
The unit is expected to be closed for about three weeks, said Chevron spokesman Jeff Krag.
Crude oil prices, meanwhile, recovered from four straight days of losses, mainly on technical factors. The December contract for West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark grade of U.S. crude, advanced 39 cents to close at $19.77 a barrel. January crude rose 29 cents to $19.57.
Domestic heating oil also reversed course from recent days to finish on the plus side. No. 2 heating oil for November rose 0.44 cent to 57.68 cents a gallon, December increased 0.40 cent to 57.96 cents and other contracts registered slightly bigger gains.
″The biggest news was the Chevron refinery,″ said Brian Tagler, energy broker with Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. ″There was concern that it might disrupt the gasoline supply.″
Analysts said crude prices continued to pull the market up even after the Chevron news was absorbed. Traders said a technical rally was expected after the market’s recent weakness.