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Oil companies’ grim outlook weigh on investors’ sentiment

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Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 23.11.09By Bloomberg | 4 August 2015

NEW YORK: The world’s biggest oil companies are painting a grim picture of the future and speculators are listening. Hedge funds reduced bullish bets to the lowest level in five years as oil capped the worst month since the financial crisis. The net-long position in West Texas Intermediate contracted 7 percent in the seven days ended July 28, US Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.

Speculators curbed their bullish stance in Brent, the global benchmark, by the most in a year.

BP Plc said oil prices will be lower for longer and Royal Dutch Shell said it’s preparing for a prolonged downturn. Exxon Mobil and Chevron reported their worst earnings in years. Supply will outpace demand by 1 million barrels a day through 2016, according to Bank of America.

“The speculators are looking at the bad earnings and the oil executives’ negative tone of commentary, and taking it as a bearish sign,” Phil Flynn, senior market analyst for Price Futures Group in Chicago, said by phone July 31.”Everybody is running out of this market in droves.”

WTI dropped $2.38, or 4.7 per cent, to $47.98 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in the period covered by the CFTC report. Futures slid $1.13 to $45.99 a barrel in electronic trading at 9:25 am. 

Exxon, the biggest US energy producer, reported July 31 its lowest profit since 2009 while No 2 Chevron posted its worst results in 12 years.

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