S&P MARKETSCOPE: Energy futures prices were mixed in early trading on Wednesday, after having hit record contract highs yesterday amid Hurricane Katrina damage reports.
Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said he will release oil from the country's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, in a bid to help refineries hit by the hurricane. Market players still don't know how long it will take the refineries and pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico area to get their production back to normal levels. Investors awaited Department of Energy and American Petroleum Institute inventory reports, and expected to see that crude oil stocks rose at 2 million barrels, distillates climbed at 1.4 million barrels, and gasoline fell 1.75 million barrels. October West Texas Intermediate crude oil was up in price by 9 cents to $69.90, down from a $70.65 high. September heating oil futures were off 2.69 cents to 204.90 cents, and September gasoline futures climbed 3.55 cents to price at 251.00 cents.