Commodities ended lower with both crude oil and gold futures
taking a hit on a strengthening dollar.
Gold for April delivery finished down $19.90, or 1.8%, at
$1,107.60 an ounce at the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude oil
for April delivery finished down $1.52 at $80.68 a barrel at the
New York Mercantile Exchange.
Meanwhile, the dollar index (
) was up 0.61%, or $0.49 to $80.71. A stronger dollar generally
weighs on commodity prices.
The dollar's rise comes as the euro has fallen on concerns about
Greece's ability to pay its debts and, more recently, doubts about
which entity could come to Greece's rescue.
Also hurting oil this week was a drop in total U.S. fuel demand,
which fell the most since November in the week ended March 12, the
Energy Department said this week. Consumption decreased by 4.2% to
18.8 million barrels a day, 7.8% below the five-year average for
the second week in March.
In energy stocks, Royal Dutch Shell Plc (
) and Nexen Inc. (
) made a "significant" oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico,
Bloomberg reported. The discovery is in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico
at Appomattox, located in Mississippi Canyon blocks 391 and
Recent operations at Appomattox have resulted in an oil
discovery with excellent reservoir quality, following the drilling
of an exploratory well and two appraisal sidetracks.
Nexen shares are up 2.33%, or $0.55, to $24.11.
) said Friday that its 279,000-barrel per day refinery in El
Segundo, Calif. is operating normally after issues earlier this
week with the instrument air system were resolved quickly, Reuters
reported, citing a spokesman.
Chevron shares were lower in mid-day trading, falling 0.88%, or
$0.66, to $74.10.
Also Friday, Reuters reported that Russia's Energy Ministry saw
no reason for the government to buy shares in No.2 oil firm LUKOIL
if ConocoPhillips (
) decided to reduce its stake.
ConocoPhillips shares were down 1.4%, or $0.74, to $51.97.
In other energy futures, natural gas rose $2.01, or 0.82%, to
$4.16 per million British thermal units. Heating oil for April
delivery fell $4.50 to $207.40 a gallon.
In other precious metals silver futures declined 2.48% to $16.99
while copper declined 0.65%, to $337.35.
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