Money Matters - Simplified

Energy

Oil prices hold under $82

New York -- Crude oil prices in New York held under $82 per barrel Wednesday after the Commerce Department said durable goods orders fell 3.3 percent in October.

Traders are also waiting for a weekly inventory report due Wednesday afternoon. Inventories have dropped two weeks in a row, falling by 10.6 million barrels. Some may be betting it is time for a rebound.

January delivery light, sweet crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange added 25 cents from a prior settlement to $81.50 Wednesday morning. Heating oil prices gained 1.52 cents to $2.2821 per gallon.

Reformulated blendstock gasoline rose 1.14 cents to $2.0982 per gallon.

Henry Hub natural gas prices lost 6.1 cents to $4.354 per million British thermal units.

Tidal energy continues to entice

Los Angeles -- Tapping the Earth's ocean tides for affordable, renewable energy could ultimately meet 10 percent of America's electricity needs, advocates say.

While widespread use may be years off, supporters say tides and other hydrokinetic systems, from ocean waves to free-flowing rivers, could eventually provide more electricity than hydropower dams now supply, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

Last month a company called Ocean Power Technologies connected a small test buoy in the swells off Oahu to the power grid that serves the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, a first for a wave energy device in U.S. waters.

Crude oil prices slip on border tensions

New York -- Crude oil prices slid to $81 per barrel Tuesday as traders turned their attention to a border skirmish between North and South Korea.

The Wall Street Journal reported South Korean marines died in an exchange of fire on Yeonpyeong, an island of 1,200 residents that is in dispute.

Crude oil prices slip on border tensions

New York -- Crude oil prices slid close to $80 per barrel Tuesday morning as traders turned their attention to a border skirmish between North and South Korea.

The Wall Street Journal reported South Korean marines died in an exchange of fire on Yeonpyeong, an island of 1,200 residents that is in dispute.

Investors reacted to the increased tensions by pulling back from their riskier positions. January delivery oil prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange, already down while finance ministers in Europe sort through details concerning aid for Ireland, lost 96 cents overnight to $80.78 per barrel. Heating oil prices shed 2.89 cents to $2.2567 per gallon.

Reformulated blendstock gasoline prices lost 2.27 cents to $2.075 per gallon.

Can You Trust the Cash Flow at First Solar?

 Although business headlines still tout earnings numbers, many investors have moved past net earnings as a measure of a company's economic output. That's because earnings are very often less trustworthy than cash flow, since earnings are more open to manipulation based on dubious judgment calls.

 

Indonesia considers more nuclear plants

Jakarta -- Indonesia, which currently has three nuclear reactors, has geological conditions and enough material for reactors in "every province," a government expert said.

The country's National Nuclear Energy Agency said the country's existing nuclear power plants have a capacity of 90 megawatts but the country has the resources to build more than 30 plants, the Antara news agency reported Monday.

"Every province in Indonesia has potential to develop a nuclear reactor because there are ample material stocks and appropriate geological support," said Wawan Purwanto, an expert at the agency.

Korea, only a third the size of Java Island, has 20 nuclear reactors, and China has 30 reactors, he said.

Crude oil prices hold steady Monday

New York -- Crude oil prices were little changed during the weekend, holding near $82 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Ireland announced Sunday it would accept an international loan, which is expected to steady the euro. The loan is likely to be around $110 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported.

January delivery light, sweet crude opened at $82.15 Monday, shedding 61 cents from Friday's close. Heating oil prices added 0.13 cent to $2.2931 per gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline prices lost 0.57 cent to $2.1214 per gallon.

Henry Hub natural gas prices gained 4.2 cents to $4.206 per million British thermal units.

U.S. oil supplies drop in week

Washington -- U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 7.3 million barrels in the week ending Nov. 12, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.

The agency said in Wednesday's report that crude inventories dropped to 357.6 million barrels during the week, with supplies remaining above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

Gasoline inventories fell by 2.7 million barrels to 207.7 million barrels. Gasoline stockpiles are listed as above the upper limit of the average range.

Supplies of distillate fuels, which include heating oil, fell by 1.1 million barrels to 158.8 million barrels.

Crude oil prices regain some lost ground

New York -- Crude oil prices climbed to over $82 per barrel overnight on the New York Mercantile Exchange, as equity markets rebounded in Asia and Europe.

Crude oil has lost ground in the past four trading sessions. After a sharp upward bump provided by the U.S. Federal Reserve's $600 billion bond purchasing program, prices were undermined by European Union negotiations to bail out Irish banks and suggestions in China that more would be done to curb inflation.

January delivery crude oil opened at $81.04 Thursday and tacked on $1.16 to $82.20 per barrel, as the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that crude oil supplies dropped by 7.3 million barrels to 357.6 million in the week ending Nov. 12.

Crude oil prices hold near $88

New York -- Crude oil prices held steady Thursday after climbing close to $88 per barrel in the previous session on strong manufacturing and trade data from China.

Manufacturing activity surged in China in October with the Purchasing Managers Index climbing from 52.9 to 54.8. China said Wednesday its trade surplus soared in October to $27.1 billion from $16.9 billion in September.

World leaders at the Group of 20 Nations summit in Seoul are concerned about massive trade imbalances, but little progress is expected. For now, China's strength is a dominant factor in commodities pricing and that is expected to continue at least through 2035, a recent International Energy Agency report said.