February 24, 2011 / 11:00 PM / 9 years ago

NYMEX-US crude rally fizzles on rumor Gaddafi shot

 * U.S. crude slips below $96, Brent dips from $120
 * Rally capped by Saudi assurances it can plug shortage
 * Gaddafi rumor unsubstantiated
 * Options trade hits record on price speculation
 * Coming up: U.S. preliminary 4th-quarter GDP, Friday
 NEW YORK, Feb 24 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures dropped
more than 2 percent in a late sell-off on Thursday on rumors
that Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi had been shot, wiping out
gains in a rally to near 2-1/2-year highs.
 Earlier, news that Saudi Arabia was in talks with European
companies affected by the disruption of Libyan supplies and was
willing and able to plug any gap appeared to have capped the
day's highs, traders said. [ID:nLDE71N13Q] [EIA/S]
 After losing some steam, prices firmed as weekly inventory
data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed a
smaller-than-expected build in crude inventories and hefty
drawdowns in distillate and gasoline supplies. [ID:nN24262315]
 Fewer than 20 minutes before the close of regular trading,
U.S. crude turned negative and Brent futures followed shortly
thereafter as the rumor about Gaddafi circulated.
 There was no immediate indication of where the rumor had
started or any news report to substantiate it.
 * On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude for April
delivery CLJ1 settled at $97.28 a barrel, down 82 cents, or
0.84 percent, after rallying to $103.41, the highest since
Sept. 29, 2008's intraday peak of $106.91. Post-settlement, it
fell further to $95.62, down $2.48, or 2.52 percent.
 * In London, ICE Brent for April delivery LCOJ1 settled
at $111.36, up 11 cents, after trading from $111.83 to $119.79,
the highest since the Aug. 22, 2008 intraday peak of $120.91.
If fell to $109.60, down $1.65, after the settlement.
 * NYMEX March heating oil HOH1 ended down nearly 1
percent, and March RBOB RBH1 closed with a tiny gain, after
being swept up more than 5 percent by crude's rally.
 * A violent surge in crude oil markets since the revolt in
Libya broke out has driven options trade to a fresh record,
NYMEX said, as traders speculate on higher prices and consumers
dash to hedge their costs. [ID:nN24281955]
 * Key Libyan oil and product terminals to the east of
Tripoli are in the hands of rebels who have seized control from
leader Muammar Gaddafi. [ID:nLDE71N1XM]
 * Gaddafi loyalists launched a counterattack on rebels
holding towns near Tripoli, and the United States did not rule
out military action in response to the crackdown.
 * New U.S. filings for jobless benefits fell last week, but
orders for a range of manufactured goods recorded their largest
decline in two years in January. [ID:nN24107116]
 * U.S. crude inventories rose 822,000 barrels last week,
distillate stockpiles fell 1.3 million barrels and gasoline
stocks dropped 2.8 million barrels, EIA data showed. [EIA/S]
 * Wall Street rose in a late rebound as Brent backed off
from its near $120-a-barrel high in a volatile session that
suggested investors aren't quite ready to give up on the
market's rally. [.N]
 * In late trading, the U.S. dollar was down 0.41 percent
against a basket of currencies, hit by higher oil prices which
stoked worries about the impact on consumer spending.
 * Gold eased below $1,400 an ounce as safe-haven buying
dried up when the oil rally fizzled on news Saudi Arabia was in
talks to raise oil output and as traders picked up the rumor
about Gaddafi. [GOL/]
 * Copper snapped a three-day losing streak, reacting to a
weaker dollar and volatile crude oil prices. [MET/L]
 * Reuters/University of Michigan U.S. consumer sentiment
for February, 9:55 a.m. EST (1455 GMT) on Friday.
              CHNG   CHNG                      VOL      VOL
CLc1    97.28   -0.80  -0.8%   95.62  103.41  486,845  489,667
CLc2    98.74   -1.08  -1.1%   97.21  104.95  144,308  167,464
LCOc1  111.36    0.11   0.1%  109.60  119.79  301,164  258,624
RBc1   2.7167  0.0018   0.1%  2.6878  2.8560   12,990   27,674
RBc2   2.8749  0.0072   0.3%  2.8443  3.0354   44,817   48,928
HOc1   2.8773 -0.0276  -1.0%  2.8450  3.0625   17,836   29,336
HOc2   2.8932 -0.0234  -0.8%  2.8583  3.0767   58,347   53,273
TOTAL MARKET            VOLUME                 OPEN  INTEREST
          CURRENT    Feb 23   30D AVG     Feb 23  NET CHNG
CRUDE       1,105,28 1,278,653   929,264  1,524,983   -18,389
RBOB         117,432   134,662   119,148    278,064    -3,814
HO           151,605   161,078   134,223    312,706    -9,094
 (Reporting by Gene Ramos; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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