Oil remains lower despite Saudi protest reports

oil pricesClick chart for more oil and other commodity prices By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Oil prices were lower in a volatile session Thursday, following reports that police in Saudi Arabia opened fire on protesters ahead of a planned demonstration.

The main U.S. oil contract, West Texas Intermediate, dropped $1.68, to settle at $102.70 a barrel. Brent crude, the European benchmark, declined 64 cents to $115.30 a barrel.

Oil prices were down sharply earlier in the day as worries about potential supply disruptions gave way to fears that global energy demand may not be as robust as previously thought. They hit a low of $100.62 at one point.

But prices edged up from their lows after published reports said Saudi Arabian police opened fire on hundreds of protestors in the eastern city of Qatif. The reported shooting comes one day before a planed "day of rage" protest in the oil-rich desert country.

Tom Pawlicki, an analyst at MF Global, said those reports may have trumped fears about China demand slowing after it reported a a surprise trade deficit as well as concerns about a stronger dollar.

The dollar rallied against the euro after Moody's lowered its credit rating for Spanish debt, days after cutting Greece's credit rating by three notches. A stronger greenback often pressures prices for commodities priced in the U.S. currency, such as crude oil.

Oil prices have spiked higher recently due to fears that the upheaval spreading across North Africa and the Middle East could lead to additional oil being taken off the world market.

The civil war in Libya has already cut production there by 1 million barrels per day. But traders are more concerned about possible unrest in Saudi Arabia, one of the world's largest producers of crude oil.

In addition, political strife has shaken governments in Yemen, Oman, Bahrain and other nations in the oil-rich Middle East.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.29%4.30%
15 yr fixed3.23%3.29%
5/1 ARM3.33%3.45%
30 yr refi4.26%4.27%
15 yr refi3.20%3.26%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,861.28 -50.83 -0.30%
Nasdaq 4,455.35 12.65 0.28%
S&P 500 1,968.06 -1.89 -0.10%
Treasuries 2.52 0.06 2.44%
Data as of 10:56am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.44 0.10 0.65%
Pfizer Inc 29.15 -0.32 -1.09%
Yahoo! Inc 36.60 0.92 2.58%
Facebook Inc 74.68 0.97 1.32%
Windstream Holdings ... 11.44 -0.39 -3.30%
Data as of 10:41am ET

Sections

McDonald's in Japan says profit and sales will fall short of expected targets this year, as fallout widens over a major food safety scandal. More

Restrictive immigration policies prevent talented entrepreneurs from launching businesses in the U.S. So, they're moving to Canada. More

Restrictive immigration policies prevent talented entrepreneurs from launching businesses in the U.S. So, they're moving to Canada. More

Steve Mason, a pastor from California, inherited more than $100,000 in student loan debt when his 27-year-old daughter died suddenly in 2009. With interest and late penalties, the debt has since ballooned to $200,000. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.