For the second Friday in a row the cash market largely managedto beat the usual lower-demand weekend jinx on spot prices. Exceptfor a wee bit of softness in the relatively mild-weather markets ofCalifornia, the Pacific Northwest and intra-Alberta, quotes wereflat to 3-4 cents up elsewhere and ranging a little higher thanthat at New England citygates (Algonquin and Tennessee Zone 6).
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Occidental Petroleum beat analysts’ third quarter earningsexpectations by a solid 10 cents/share. Higher gas and oil pricesand improved performance from its chemicals division produced netincome of $126 million ($0.35/share) for the third quarter, 232%higher than the $38 million ($0.10/share) posted in 3Q98. Earningsbefore special items were $125 million compared with only $3million in 3Q98.
Enron Corp. last week turned in second quarter results that beat Wall Street expectations, provided evidence the money-losing Enron Energy Services (EES) likely will turn a profit in the fourth quarter, and announced an increased focus on its communications business, which will be classified as a core business.
Columbia Energy Group beat analysts expectations with a 15% jump($3.3 million or five cents per share) in net income during thesecond quarter to $26.1 million, or 32 cents per share. It alsoupped the ante yesterday in its effort to fend off NiSource’s $5.7billion hostile takeover offer by adding $400 million to its stockrepurchase program, which now totals $420 million.
Enron Corp. turned in second quarter results that beat WallStreet expectations. Also yesterday, Enron Energy Services (EES)announced its biggest energy outsourcing deal yet, and the parentcompany touted its nascent communications business to analysts,saying Communications, which plans to enter bandwidth trading, nowwill be classified as a core business. While the company’s energyservices business continued to lose money, it still appears to beon track to at least break even in the fourth quarter, the companyand analysts said.
The cash market was stronger by varying degrees Tuesday withprice movement ranging from flat to about a dime higher. Butsources didn’t expect the firmness to last, since many points wereheading back down along with the screen in late business. Theiroutlook was reinforced when the June futures contract continued todrop in afternoon Access activity.
“Fundamentals are bearish, technicals are bullish, and today[Tuesday] the bulls beat the [socks off] of the bears.” Rather thandescribing a pro sports encounter between two Chicago teams, aHouston-based aggregator was summing up his view of the physicaland futures gas markets. Led by a soaring screen that dazzledobservers with its pyrotechnics (“this is crazy,” exclaimed onemarketer), cash prices were rising by a dime or more at nearly allpoints in the face of continuing widespread mild temperatures.
Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania last week beat out Equitable Gas inthe bidding to provide service to new commercial and residentialbuildings that are slated to be constructed on a former LTV steelsite on the city of Pittsburgh’s South Side. The site, which isowned by the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), currentlyis in the midst of major redevelopment.
Mondays have been bear-traders’ favorite day of the week atNymex with the last five producing losses to start the week. Themarket looked poised to continue that trend yesterday, but strongerprices mixed with concerns the market is nearing the bottombolstered the September contract 2.5 cents for the day. That leftthe prompt month at $1.869.