Oil prices are largely unchanged in early morning trading
Thursday, retreating slightly from their previous gains as the U.S.
dollar inched up.
Most traders expect oil to find resistance beyond $81 a barrel
from profit-taking and concerns about global demand not keeping
pace with supply. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Energy reported
Wednesday that crude inventories rose to their highest levels since
At 0745 ET, crude oil is down 0.1 percent at $79.18 a barrel,
while light sweet crude is up 0.2 percent at $81.04, and natural
gas is up 0.1 percent at $4.76 a million British thermal units.
Meanwhile, there are worries about supplies being curtailed as
Singapore's navy has been warned to be on the lookout for terrorist
attacks on the Malacca Strait. There is growing concern that
fundamentalist Islamic groups such as al-Qaeda will attack oil
tankers traveling along the strait that runs between Malaysia and
Indonesia. Any potential disruption to oil supply could push crude
On the corporate front, Western Refining (
) posted a loss for the fourth quarter that was less than Wall
Street's estimates. The company was buoyed by higher sales volume
and improvement in refining margins. Western Refining is unchanged
before the bell on the NYSE at $4.69.
Meanwhile, oil explorer Canadian Natural Resouces (
) reported fourth quarter profit tumbling 74% from a year ago due
to lower natural gas volumes. Canadian Natural Resources is largely
flat at $69.53 ahead of the bell on the NYSE.