MW: Crude futures all but flat as traders await House vote
Contract firms near $94 mark following Thursday's plunge
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Crude-oil futures traded little changed early Friday, hovering near $94 a barrel, as the House of Representatives got ready to vote on a revised $700 billion financial-rescue package.
Crude for November delivery edged up 15 cents to $94.12 a barrel in electronic trading on Globex.
"An approved new bailout plan, aimed at dealing with toxic debt, would help to calm equity markets and lower elevated interbank rates," said Andrey Kryuchenkov, analyst at Sucden Research, in a research note.
"Yet, it will take much longer to restore investor confidence and for global growth rates to pick up once again with the help of emerging markets," he said. "It could also provide a short-term boost to equities and commodities."
The financial-bailout package will be put before the House for a second time on Friday. A White House spokesman said some House members have said they will switch their no votes, though the outcome remains in doubt.
Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar traded marginally lower against other major currencies after the Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls fell by 159,000 in September, the worst single month for job losses since March 2003. See Currencies.
The U.S. economy has now lost 760,000 jobs this year, further evidence of a recession even before the financial market crisis that blossomed in the past few weeks. See Economic Report.
On Thursday, benchmark crude plunged 4.6% to close at $93.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, weighed down by gains in the dollar and ongoing concerns about a slowdown in global demand for petroleum.
"Short-term, we are quite oversold in a number of commodity complexes, and could be in for a substantial 'relief rally' should the House pass the revised Treasury proposal," said Edward Meir, an analyst at MF Global, in a research note.
"However, crude is still overpriced, and we could falter again after a possible bounce from here," he said.
Also in Globex action Friday, November reformulated gasoline was flat at $2.26 a gallon and November heating oil eased 1 cent to $2.70 a gallon.
Natural gas for November delivery fell 8 cents to stand at $7.40 per million British thermal units.