U.S. oil prices rose
Thursday as traders jumped at buying opportunities after OPEC's agreement on production cuts sent prices falling Wednesday. Crude oil for February delivery traded up 28 cents at $29.88 per barrel early Thursday afternoon on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). "There's a feeling that perhaps we've run the course of the down side and the market could start making a move up, at least for the short term," said Nauman Barakat, vice president of energy futures trading at ABN Amro in New York. NYMEX crude ended 69 cents lower at $29.60 per barrel Wednesday, after moving down more than a dollar as traders pocketed profits.
Traders sold off after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to cut output by 1.5 million barrels a day, or more than 5 percent, beginning Feb. 1.
Comments by President-elect George W. Bush in an interview with Reuters that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was "a big threat" that must be contained -- by military force if necessary -- also supported prices.
NYMEX crude wavered early between positive and negative territory amid confusion over contradictory weekly stocks data.