February proved to be a strong month for U.S. stocks, even though it ended in downbeat fashion.
Major stock indexes closed lower on Friday, capping a week of subdued trading that still delivered a couple of new highs for the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index. It also brought the Nasdaq composite within striking distance of its March 2000 high.
Oil rose, recouping some of its losses from a day earlier.
Predicted higher oil demand in China helped boost prices early Friday, although persistent growth in U.S. stockpiles has helped widen the divide between the domestic and international benchmarks. West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery gained 78 cents to $48.95 a barrel in electronic trading on the Nymex, while in London Brent jumped 92 cents to $60.97, Reuters reports.
The U.S. government’s leading energy analyst is predicting oil prices will average between $58 and $75 a barrel over the next two years as geopolitical issues like an Iranian nuclear deal, unrest in Venezuela and China's economic growth impact markets. And the head of the Energy Information Administration remains confident consumers will enjoy some significant savings in their wallets.
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese factories churned out more machinery and electronic devices in January as export shipments rose, but lower energy costs due to cheaper crude oil failed to provide a boost to consumer spending.
Weak retail sales and a cooling of already slow inflation underscored the fragility of the recovery of the world's third-largest economy. It also raised the potential for further monetary stimulus from the central bank.
U.S. stocks drifted to a slightly lower finish on Thursday, weighed down by falling energy stocks as the slump in oil prices deepened.
Chevron and Exxon Mobil were among the biggest decliners in the Dow Jones industrial average, which eased back from its latest all-time high. The Standard & Poor's 500 index also slipped below its record high set earlier this week. The Nasdaq composite bucked the trend, creeping within 61 points of its dot-com era record close.
Expectations of rising oil supplies sent the price of crude to its lowest level in nearly a month. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell $2.82 to close at $48.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The report from the Energy Information Administration of an 8.4 million increase in U.S. crude stocks last week was pressuring oil prices early Thursday.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery dropped 48 cents to $50.51 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, the contract had jumped $1.71 to $50.99 after the EIA reported diesel and gasoline inventories fell more than expected, indicating a pickup in demand.
The Dow Jones industrial average notched its third record high close in a row Wednesday, even as other market indexes ended lower.
Trading was relatively subdued as investors reviewed the latest corporate earnings news. Utilities stocks were among the biggest decliners. Energy stocks rebounded as oil prices broke a five-day slide and climbed back above $50 a barrel.
Oil prices fluctuated Wednesday as investors balanced concerns about a continuing U.S supply glut against improving economic signs from China. Brent crude rose slightly to $59 a barrel while sweet crude futures traded at $49.44 a barrel, The Wall Street Journal reported.
PUERTO GAITAN, Colombia (AP) — Soaring oil prices the past decade transformed this rural backwater into Colombia's richest city as nearby fields pumped black gold, drawing new businesses, international pop stars and vanity art projects such as the biblical-themed arch that towers over these sweltering grasslands.
Now, crashing crude prices have the 45,000 residents of Puerto Gaitan bracing for a big fall, or already packing their bags. Many are questioning how the windfall was spent.
Anticipation of continued record U.S. stockpiles kept the pressure on oil prices Tuesday, despite fresh problems with production in Libya. U.S. benchmark crude for April delivery dropped 17 cents to $49.28 a barrel on the Nymex, while in London Brent lost 24 cents to $58.66, Reuters reports.
Although sand and water are the primary substances used in fracking, an Environmental Protection Agency analysis of data from FracFocus.org found that nearly 700 chemical additives appear as well, according to The Hill.
Republicans with a college degree are more likely to say that the threat posed by climate change is exaggerated, while Democrats with higher education are more concerned about the issue, according to a Gallup poll, National Journal reports.
Possible GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum told North Carolina lawmakers Thursday that President Obama’s moves to regulate power plant emissions reflect a “quasi-religious” zeal to close coal-fired plants, The Associated Press reports.
Under pressure from Democrats, Republican and the White House to step down, Rafael Moure-Eraso has resigned as chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, although the CSB said he would remain a member until mid-April, National Journal reports.
A budget amendment from Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., which some say is a referendum on opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Waters of the U.S. rule, was approved on a 59-40 vote, E&E reports.