Commodity Corner: Oil, NG End the Day Lower



Supply concerns propelled November crude oil beyond the $82 mark Monday, but a combination of a stronger dollar and faltering stock markets proved too strong for the rally.

The front-month contract price for a barrel of crude oil settled at $81.47, an 11-cent decline from the previous trading day. U.S. equities markets, which often influence the direction of oil prices on a given day, lost ground as investors fretted about pending earnings reports and the greenback gained strength against the euro. The Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq indexes all ended the day down.

Earlier in the day, crude oil peaked at $82.38 on speculation that the shutdown of the Houston Ship Channel following a barge accident Sunday would cause significant supply problems. Assurances from companies that receive crude shipments at the port helped to temper these concerns. Oil bottomed out at $80.77 Monday.

Gasoline for November delivery followed a pattern similar to oil's Monday as traders pondered the impact of the shutdown in Houston's port complex. The front-month contract surged more than 1% to $2.12 a gallon but ultimately settled flat at $2.09, a penny above the intraday low.

November natural gas futures ended the day at $3.73 per thousand cubic feet. Concerns about high inventories and grim prospects for cold weather to stoke electricity demand contributed to the seven-cent decline from Friday's settlement price. Natural gas traded within a range from $3.69 to $3.79 Monday.