Oil markets stumbled through a dull trading day Friday as traders waited to see what happens at next week's meeting of the 13-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
It was "too dull" to comment on, said Ann-Louise Hittle, senior oil analyst at Shearson Lehman Brothers, Inc. in New York. "Everything's on hold until the OPEC meeting."The benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery ended the day on the New York Mercantile Exchange down 11 cents to $19.31 a barrel, 7 cents lower than a week earlier.
The U.S. light sweet crude rose to $20.43 a barrel Tuesday, topping off a rally of successive gains that began Feb. 22 when WTI settled at $17.91 after trading as low as $17.45 a barrel. Prices fell the rest of the week.
The market had rallied in anticipation that OPEC would cut production now that the Persian Gulf war was ended, Miller said.
But the rally ended on rumors that Saudi Arabia was showing resistance to any reduction, he said.