Heating Oil Gains on Smaller U.S. Jobs Loss, ECB Rate Reduction

Heating oil gained as first-time U.S. jobless claims slipped to a one-month low and the European Central Bank reduced interest rates, easing concern that the region’s debt crisis will spread.

Futures gained as the Labor Department reported that jobless claims fell by 9,000 to 397,000 in the week ended Oct. 29. The ECB lowered the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.25 percent after euro-area leaders raised the prospect of Greece exiting the monetary union.

“The interest rate cut is going to stimulate the economy and the market feels that whether Greece is in or out of the euro zone, the ECB is going to take preemptive strikes,” said Phil Flynn, vice president of research at PFGBest in Chicago. “And the economic data in the U.S. is getting better.”

December-delivery heating oil advanced 3.74 cents, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $3.0381 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the first rise in five days.

Futures increased gains after Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the nation won’t hold a referendum on a rescue plan approved by European leaders. He was speaking to party lawmakers in Parliament in Athens today. The news strengthened the euro against the dollar, increasing the investment appeal of commodities.

“Headlines are moving the market,” said James Cordier, portfolio manager at OptionSellers.com in Tampa, Florida.

Europe Recession

Prices fell as low as $2.975 a gallon earlier after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said Europe is heading toward a recession and two Greek party officials said that Prime Minister George Papandreou won’t resign after he called for a vote on Greece’s place in the euro.

“Lowering the interest rate in Europe was a positive but it comes down to what’s going to happen with Greece and the market is scared, the market is fragile,” said Dominick Chirichella, senior partner at the Energy Management Institute in New York.

Preliminary volume in electronic trading for heating oil was 87,694 contracts as of 2:55 p.m. in New York, 35 percent less than the three-month average. Gasoline volume was 89,445, 31 percent lower than the average.

“We’ve got much fewer bids and offers,” Cordier said. “So many players are on the sidelines waiting for a resolution in Europe.”

Gasoline for December delivery rose 1.46 cents, or 0.6 percent, to settle at $2.6418 a gallon on the exchange.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.6 cent to $3.426 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA data.

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