No. 3 oilfield services provider Baker Hughes Inc. on Friday reported a 30% drop in first quarter profits, stung by weak North American drilling, its biggest market. Schlumberger Ltd., the world’s largest oilfield services operator, also reported a drop in quarterly profits on declines in North America, and management said the outlook for the United States and Canada this year remains uncertain.
Articles from Softer
A large majority of trading locations were softer Tuesday as more seasonable fall temperatures return to most areas. Even the Midwest, where a cold front will be delivering considerably chillier conditions and snow in some sections at midweek, participated in the overall downturn.
Tuesday’s market was largely an extension of the one that started the week: quotes a bit softer at most locations but a few flat to slightly higher points keeping movement mixed overall. Even as restoration efforts get into high gear along the East Coast following Hurricane Irene’s damage, the overall weather outlook is too moderate to be supportive of gas prices.
A large majority of points was softer for the weekend, and although moderate gains continued at several Northeast points Friday, they were nowhere near the triple-digit spikes that had reigned in the previous two days. In fact, a few Northeast points showed softness of their own. Transco Zone 5 (Mid-Atlantic) took the biggest dive of a little more than $1.40.
The August aftermarket began slightly softer at most points as traders regarded generally moderate mid-summer temperatures in the Northeast and Midwest and the usual weekend drop of industrial load as more important than the previous day’s 10.9-cent climb by September futures in their prompt-month debut.
Many near-flat numbers were involved in a market that was mildly higher in much of the East but decidedly softer in the West Wednesday. Hot weather will remain through Thursday in much of the southern half of the U.S., but cool to mild temperatures will continue to prevail in much of North America.
Prices were softer at a large majority of points Monday due largely to the previous Friday’s dive of nearly 30 cents by October futures but also to a substantial drop of cooling load in the South and weather remaining moderate in most other areas.
Price movement was mixed Monday, with gains dominating slightly in the Gulf Coast but the rest of the market mostly softer. Except for triple-digit plunges in the Rockies, in most cases points did not stray very far up or down from flat. Forecasts of colder post-holiday weather in most of the East early this week were proving to be overstated, and the storage report-driven spike of 49.2 cents last Wednesday had little impact in supporting most cash trading points.