Oil Falls Slightly; Natural Gas Soars on Weather

NEW YORK (AP) -

The price of oil fell slightly Monday, the first decline in seven trading sessions.

Benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery slipped 31 cents to $97.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil had gained $5.35 a barrel, or 5.8 percent, over the previous six trading days.

Meanwhile, natural gas rose above $4.20 for the first time since May 28, on the likelihood that homeowners turned up the heat to try to shake off the effects of two wintry storms that plowed across the country. Forecasts are for colder-than-normal temperatures in the Midwest this week.

Natural gas futures rose 12 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $4.23 per 1,000 cubic feet.

U.S. drivers, who braved the rough conditions in many areas, paid an average of $3.26 a gallon for gasoline. That’s down 9 cents from this time a year ago.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, dropped $2.22 at $109.39 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

  • Wholesale gasoline lost 5 cents to $2.67 a gallon.
  • Heating oil lost 4 cents to $3.01 a gallon.

In metals trading, February gold edged up $5.20, or 0.4 percent, to $1,234.20 an ounce. Silver for March delivery rose 17.8 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $19.701 an ounce.

High-grade copper for March delivery rose a penny, or 0.3 percent, to $3.258 a pound. January platinum rose $12.20, or 0.9 percent, to $1,368.50 an ounce, and palladium for March delivery fell $1.15, or 0.2 percent, to $735 an ounce.

In agricultural commodities trading, wheat for March delivery fell half a cent to $6.505 a bushel, January soybeans rose 18.25 cents to $13.4375 a bushel and March corn rose 3.75 cents to $4.38 a bushel.