Oil Mixed, As Is Industry Stockpile Report
NEW YORK (AP) _ Oil futures finished mixed Tuesday in advance of an industry report showing that supplies of crude fell last week while the nation’s stockpile of refined petroleum products grew.
Light sweet crude oil for delivery in July settled at $20.13 per barrel, up 19 cents, at the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Refiners were doing much of the buying, which also lifted the value of crude to be delivered in August, even though contracts for oil to be delivered later moved lower.
Unleaded gasoline futures finished lower, with contracts for gasoline to be delivered in July settling at 62.80 cents a gallon, down .17 cent. Home heating oil prices were mixed, with contracts for delivery in July settling at 53.89 cents a gallon, up .12 cent.
Traders said there was no news moving the market, but the oil to be delivered soon gained ground over oil to be delivered later, in what was taken as speculation that prices will be firm for the short term.
Natural gas prices kept plunging amid sluggish demand. Gas for delivery in July settled at $1.245 per 1,000 cubic feet, down 1.7 cents.
″It made new lows again today,″ said Rita Beale, a petroleum products analyst at Shearson Lehman Brothers Inc. ″That’s a really sad sight, the natural gas.″
In London, North Sea Brent Blend crude oil for August delivery settled at $18.21 per barrel, unchanged from Monday, at the International Petroleum Exchange.
After energy futures stopped trading for the day, the American Petroleum Institute released its latest figures on U.S. oil supplies, showing that the nation had less crude oil but more refined products on hand for the week ending Friday.
Crude oil supplies were at 352.3 million barrels, compared with 353.2 million a week earlier and 384.4 million a year earlier.
The gasoline supply was at 218.2 million barrels, compared with 215.6 million a week earlier and 216.6 million a year earlier. The supply of distillates, which include home heating oil, was at 111.3 million barrels, compared with 108.3 million a week earlier and 107.4 million a year earlier.
The nation’s refineries boosted their operations to 90.4 percent of capacity last week, up from 88.4 percent a week earlier.