U.S. OIL, FUEL STOCKS DECLINE
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that inventories of U.S. crude oil and gasoline dropped more than expected last week, Dan Molinski reports.
Crude oil stockpiles fell by 4.7 million barrels, to 490.6 million barrels, while gasoline stockpiles dropped by 4.4 million barrels, to 231.2 million barrels.
The news boosted oil prices to a six-week high Wednesday, with both U.S. and global crude benchmarks hitting their single biggest day gains since July 3.
COMMODITY TRADERS STUMBLE IN FIRST HALF
Big commodity investors like banks and hedge funds have experienced their worst first-half performance since 2010, with the S&P GSCI commodity index dropping 10.2% during the first six months of this year, Stephanie Yang reports.
Returns were hurt by low volatility in the market—making trading more difficult—and the ongoing slump in oil prices, which many investors had predicted would rebound this year.
“Range-bound markets offer little opportunity for investors and traders to profit from major price moves and arbitrage divergences,” Ms. Yang notes.
CANADA’S HYDRO ONE TO BUY AVISTA
Canadian utility Hydro One Ltd. said Wednesday it had agreed to buy Washington-based Avista Corp. for $5.3 billion, in a deal that would create an electric- and gas-utility holding company with an excess of $24.5 billion in combined assets, Ali Stratton reports.
Hydro One plans to pay $53 an Avista share.
The boards of both companies approved the deal and it is expected to close in the first half of next year.
OIL STRUGGLES AFTER RISE IN U.S. OUTPUT
Crude prices were steady Thursday, with the market pressured by increased U.S. production despite signs of a drawdown in stocks.
Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, was up 0.1% to $49.75 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 0.06% at $47.35 a barrel.
Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday showed U.S. production rose by 32,000 barrels a day in the week ended July 14 to its highest level in two years.