Thursday, September 3, 2009

Oil Little Changed Near Two-Week Low as U.S. Payrolls Decline

Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Oil traded little changed near a two-week low after a report on U.S. job losses and a lower-than- forecast gain in factory orders spurred concern the global economic recovery may be slowing.

The number of jobs in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil user, fell by 298,000 in August, ADP Employer Services said yesterday. A drop of 250,000 was forecast. Orders placed with U.S. factories gained 1.3 percent in July, the Commerce Department said. They were estimated to rise 2.2 percent.

“The ADP unemployment number came out showing a larger than expected 298,000 private sector job losses,” said Mike Sander, an investment adviser at Sander Capital in Seattle. “With more people being laid off, I don’t see how oil demand can go up.”

Crude oil for October delivery traded at $68.25 a barrel, up 20 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 8:28 a.m. Sydney time. Yesterday, the contract settled unchanged at $68.05, the first time this has happened since Nov. 24, 2006. Prices have gained 53 percent since the start of the year.

U.S. stocks fell for a fourth day, the longest losing streak for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since May. The S&P 500 slipped 0.3 percent to 994.75 in New York and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 29.93 points.

Brent crude oil for October settlement declined 7 cents to $67.66 a barrel yesterday on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange. It was the lowest settlement since July 29.