Oil futures settle higher as positive COVID-19 vaccine trial results ease demand concerns


A slight gain in crude oil prices was seen Monday in trading as analysts believe it was due to news of positive results from an earlier COVID-19 vaccine trial. The news might have helped offset the pandemic’s risk to economic recovery and energy demand.

West Texas Intermediate August oil finished the day 22 cents higher or 0.5% to settle at $40.81 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It had dipped to a low of $39.83.

Global benchmark Brent crude for September rose 14 cents or 0.3% on ICE Futures Europe and settled at $43.28 a barrel.

The slight jump in crude prices followed publication by a medical journal of a story that found AstraZeneca’s AZN vaccine candidate produced antibodies in an early clinical trial.

Another impetus for the slight gain might have been crude storage.

“Crude inventories are still heading lower,” said Robbie Fraser, senior commodity analyst at Schneider Electric in an interview with MarketWatch.

“From U.S. stocks to floating storage tankers, the data continues to show a market chipping away at excess supply, and that’s providing a buffer from ongoing demand concerns.”

Some of the local energy firms were down including Devon Energy, which lost 2 cents in Monday’s trading and closed at $10.27 per share. SandRidge Energy dropped by 1 cent or just under 1% to finish the day at $1.28.

However, on the heels of Chevron’s $5 billion acquisition of Noble Energy, Noble shares rose 52 cents or 5.43% to finish at $10.18 a share.

EOG Resources saw a 54 cent or 1.14% increase as shares ended the day at $47.70. Marathon Oil slipped 2 cents or 0.37% to finish at $5.49.

ONEOK dropped 42 cents or 1.47% and settled at $28.25 while Phillips 66 fell $1.51 or 2.37% and ended Monday’s trading at $62.33.

On the Utilities stocks, American Electric Power declined by 79 cents a share or 1% and reached $86.72 per share.