Riding the wave of higher commodity prices, Houston producers Burlington Resources Inc., Apache Corp. and Marathon Oil Corp. all reported jumps in second quarter net income when compared to the same quarter last year.
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Riding the wave of a decidedly bullish storage report and a prompt-month futures contracts that settled above $5.00 on the previous day for the first time since late April 2001, prices wound up an already strong week with further advances at most points Friday. Only San Juan/Rockies numbers, which have frequently moved contrary to the overall market in recent weeks, succumbed to weekend softening.
Riding a broad stock market rally fueled by investors looking for bargain-basement deals, Williams Cos. Inc.’s stock shot up nearly 88% to close at around $1.99 a share Monday, in spite of the company’s report earlier in the day of a major net loss for the second quarter due mostly to its floundering energy marketing and trading business, which lost nearly half a billion dollars for the period. The sharp bounce in the company’s stock, which had opened at $1.06 a share, suppressed speculation about possible bankruptcy.
Natural gas bulls saved their best for last Friday, as they buoyed prices to a new two-week highs amid a combination of profit-taking and short-covering. After moving steadily higher throughout the session, the January contract spiked at the close to finish the week at $2.846, up an even 9 cents on the day and 27.8 cents above where the contract was the Friday before.
Cross Timbers Oil Co., riding high on a wave of record earnings and gas production growth, has adopted a new name, XTO Energy Inc., which takes effect June 1. The company will continue to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “XTO.”
Riding the wave of higher natural gas and power demand andprices, a number of utilities and pipelines have announced thatnew estimates for April-to-June earnings are much higher thanpreviously projected. Sempra Energy, Reliant Energy and Williamsall have released estimates that show an increase in expectedearnings in the second quarter. Sempra also AGL Resources, whosefiscal year third quarter ended June, 30, also expects to exceedestimates for the time period. The companies in part cite greatermargins on gas and power sales as reason for the increase.
Riding the coattails of state budget legislation facing a June30 deadline, California lawmakers are making an end-run around thestate’s constitutionally quasi-independent energy regulatory panelwith an amendment to block regulators’ latest move to expandwholesale electricity competition in the state. It is a similarpattern to what the elected officials have done the past two yearsregarding natural gas industry issues.
Bungy jumping, yo-yoing and roller coaster riding are allactivities that have very much in common with what has been goingon in the gas pit at the New York Mercantile Exchange this week.Many observers expect more of the same until near-month futureseither take out support at $3.80 or bust through resistance at$4.55, “a nice friendly little trading range.”
Still flush from Wednesday’s bullish storage report, traders bidup natural gas prices in the pit at Nymex yesterday to notch thefourth advance in as many days. Including yesterday’s 3.5-centgain, the June contract has rallied 34 cents from Friday’s $3.01low. After notching a $3.385 high, the prompt month closed at$3.352.
Riding a wave of bullish emotion, natural gas futures continuedhigher Friday despite forecasts of warming weather expected thisweek. After checking lower at $3.03, the November contract receiveda steady boost of buying pressure from commercials and speculatorsthat enabled prices to push above $3.10 in the early afternoon. Butjust when it looked as if the prompt month would finish the weeknear its high, a late round of pre-weekend profit-taking droveprices down to settle at $3.072, a net-0.8 cent advance on the day.