Money Matters - Simplified

Energy

Solar Costs Getting Harder to Cut

 The fight for lower costs in solar is a never-ending battle. Those who can lower costs will survive; those who can't are headed to the scrap heap. So every quarter we watch to see where costs are trending and who is moving into a better position in the industry. Where do we stand right now?

 

Crude oil prices rise after OPEC meeting

New York -- Crude oil prices rose over the weekend in New York after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed not to change current oil production quotas.

After a meeting of oil ministers in Ecuador Saturday, OPEC said the economic forecast called for lower oil demand in 2011 compared to 2010.

The risks to demand included "possible currency conflicts and fears of a second banking crisis in Europe," OPEC said in a news release.
The global outlook also included "lagging private consumption as well as persistently high unemployment." However, with "ample spare capacity throughout the oil supply chain ... (OPEC) agreed to maintain current oil production levels."

Is Chesapeake Energy's Management Creating Value?

 Warren Buffett's partner, Charlie Munger, once said, "I think I've been in the top 5% of my age cohort all my life in understanding the power of incentives, and all my life I've underestimated it. And never a year passes but I get some surprise that pushes my limit a little farther."

 

Protect Yourself From Spiking Energy Prices

 For all the damage that it did to your personal finances, 2008's market meltdown did bring one fringe benefit: It cut energy prices down to size. But with prices at the pump creeping back upward, you may be wondering if it's too late to take steps to try to offset the added costs of getting around and heating your home as winter fast approaches.

 

Oil prices steady before OPEC meeting

New York-- A bounce in the U.S. dollar sent January crude oil prices below $88 a barrel in trading Friday in New York as traders focused on Saturday's OPEC meeting.

Weakness from outside financial markets also weighed on the New York Mercantile Exchange as traders focused on Saturday's Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting in Ecuador and Chinese inflation.

Prices for light sweet crude flirted with $89 a barrel before falling back to $87.81, off 0.56 on the day. Henry Hub natural gas fell 0.01 cent to $4.25 per million British thermal units while heating oil lost 0.0089 to $2.4561. Reformulated blendstock gasoline prices eased back 0.0265 cent to $2.3140 per gallon.

Crude oil hovers near $88

New York -- Crude oil prices hovered above $88 per barrel overnight on the New York Mercantile Exchange, ahead of an Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting.

Traders will be scanning news reports for hints on OPEC's position on production quotas to be announced Saturday. The Wall Street Journal Thursday quoted an unidentified OPEC official as saying oil ministers were comfortable with recent price hikes.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said the U.S. crude oil supplies had dropped by 3.8 million barrels in the week ending Dec. 3, but that the 214 million barrels on hand were near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

EnergySolutions Passes This Key Test

 There's no foolproof way to know the future for EnergySolutions (NYSE: ES) or any other company. However, certain clues may help you see potential stumbles before they happen -- and before your stock craters as a result. Rest assured: Even if you're not monitoring these metrics, short-sellers are.

 

Here's How Merit Medical Systems May Be Failing You

 Margins matter. The more Merit Medical Systems (Nasdaq:MMSI) keeps of each buck it earns in revenue, the more money it has to invest in growth, fund new strategic plans, or (gasp!) distribute to shareholders. Healthy margins often separate pretenders from the best stocks in the market. That's why I check on my holdings' margins at least once a quarter. I'm looking for the absolute numbers, comparisons to sector peers and competitors, and any trend that may tell me how strong Merit Medical Systems’s competitive position could be.

 

Crude oil slides off of 2-year high

New York-- Crude oil prices topped $91 per barrel during the weekend before settling down Monday on hints the economy remains weak.

January delivery crude oil dropped from a 26-month high of $91.37 per barrel to $88.98, a 2.6 percent drop. Heating oil prices also fell, losing 1.81 cents from a prior settlement to $2.4693 per gallon.

Reformulated blendstock gasoline trended lower, losing 2 cents to $2.3321 per gallon. Henry Hub natural gas prices added 1.57 cents to $4.506 per million British thermal units.

At the pump, the national average price of unleaded gasoline rose Monday from Sunday's $2.939 per gallon to $2.951, AAA said.

Crude oil slides off of 2-year high

NewYork -- Crude oil prices topped $91 per barrel during the weekend before settling down Monday on hints the economy remained weak.

January delivery crude oil dropped from a 26-month high of $91.37 per barrel to $89.26, a 2.3 percent drop. Heating oil prices also fell, but recovered adding 0.49 cents to $2.4935 per gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline trended higher off a recent settlement, adding 1.19 cents to $2.364 per gallon. Henry Hub natural gas prices added 11.5 cents to $4.464 per million British thermal units.

At the pump, the national average price of unleaded gasoline rose Monday from Sunday's $2.939 per gallon to $2.951, AAA said.