Commodity Corner: Oil Settles Lower; NG Breaks $4.00 Mark

Crude oil for December delivery settled lower Friday after the U.S. Commerce Department reported a lower-than-expected gross domestic product (GDP) estimate for the third quarter of 2010.

Oil ended Friday's trading session $81.43 a barrel, a 75-cent decline from the previous day. The Commerce Department stated earlier in the day that Real GDP grew 2.0 percent at an annual rate during the third quarter, below the 2.1 percent that the private sector anticipated.

During Friday's session, oil peaked at $82.12 and bottomed out at $80.56. The commodity is down 1.3% compared to Monday's settlement price.

Natural gas continued to benefit from predictions of colder temperatures for much of the Central and Eastern U.S. through next week. The December futures price settled at $4.04 per thousand cubic feet Friday, a 15-cent gain from the previous day and a 21.7% improvement from Monday's settlement price; note that the November contract was still being traded Monday.

Gas traded within a range from $3.83 to $4.035 Friday.

The price of gasoline for November delivery fell by a penny Friday, settling at $2.10 a gallon. Gasoline, which is up nearly 1% for the week, traded from $2.07 to $2.13.