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Back when oil was trading at a record high of $145 a barrel - and was generally expected to go higher - I concluded that the forces at play were speculative, not fundamental - driven by new institutional money looking to diversify away from too many concentrated equity bets. I argued these forces were temporary, and not entrenched, meaning that oil prices were actually headed for a fall.
The "forces" I was referring to are called "capital waves." Capital waves create some of the biggest trading opportunities in the markets today. Investors who are able to spot capital waves and identify their likely impact have a huge advantage over those who don't.
With oil, for instance, pundits were calling for new highs of $200, $250, $300 and even $500 a barrel. But behind the curtain, there was a major capital wave at play: I knew that oil was being pumped out of the ground like mad, and that shipping rates were exploding because oil was being stored in offshore, idled tankers. I knew that as little as $20 billion had been "re-allocated" out of the equity markets and into this new-asset-class investment for pension fund accounts.
As a speculative frenzy seemed to be enveloping the oil market, I called for oil prices to plummet - to more than a few looks of incredulity or outright guffaws.
When the secondary capital waves took hold, the speculative advance in oil prices first stalled - and then oil prices plunged as capital exited in another wave.
Don't feel bad if you missed this opportunity. That's the important thing to remember about capital waves - they're out there if you know where to look and how to interpret them. In fact, as good as this oil play was, I see even better opportunities ahead.
To learn about the Top Five "capital waves," read on...
Oil Prices on the Rise as OPEC Holds Production Steady
Oil prices yesterday (Wednesday) rose $1.23, or 1.5%, to close at a two-month high of $82.93 on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) a fter the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries opted to keep its production quotas in place.
However, it may not be much longer before prices take off again, possibly hitting $100 a barrel by the end of the year.
Current prices are "beautiful," Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters before OPEC's meeting.
"The producer is looking at this price, the consumer is looking at the price, the investor is looking at the price, and everybody is saying this is great," he said.
OPEC, which supplies about 40% of the world's oil, set its official cap at 24.845 million barrels per day (bpd) in December 2008 and has kept it there for five straight meetings. In that time oil prices have more than doubled.
How to Profit from the Next Spike in Oil Prices
Earlier this week, British company Desire PLC (Pink Sheets: DSPMF) began drilling in an offshore block of the Falkland Islands. Immediately, Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner let loose with a howl of rage, and the Summit of Latin American and Caribbean Unity issued a protest against the British company's drilling operations.
Argentina's claim to the Falklands had remained dormant since the war 28 years ago, yet the moment the drill bit touched seabed the years rolled away. This showed yet again that oil remains salient to international politics and the world economy in a way shared by no other commodity. So how should investors play it?
For the best ways to profit from rising oil prices, read on...
Oil Prices Set to Surge to $90 a Barrel by Midyear, Retest Record High in 2011
In its 2010 forecast series, Money Morning predicted the price of oil would reach $100 a barrel by the end of the year. And while crude prices stalled in January, a growing body of evidence suggests that call may not be far off.
Oil prices rose above $80 a barrel for the first time ever on Sept. 13, 2007. From there they jumped 84% to $147 a barrel in July 2008. Then, in 2009, they surged more than 133% from a low of $34.03 a barrel in February to $79.39 a barrel at the end of December.
The price of crude again topped out above the $80 a barrel mark in early January, but has since slid back down to about $75 a barrel. However, some analysts believe that this is just period of temporary cooling before prices reignite and soar to $90 by midyear, and as high as $200 a barrel by 2012.
What Do Oil, Gold and Orange Juice Have in Common? Some Hefty Possible Profits
"So what do you expect from the commodity markets in 2010?" If I had a dollar for every time I've been asked this question over the past few weeks, I'd be able to buy myself an ounce of gold. But allow me to tell you the same thing that I've told my friends and colleagues: [...]
Will China Supersede Saudi Arabia as the Key to U.S. Oil Prices?
I bought a Toyota Prius last Saturday.
The signs are everywhere that oil is headed for stratospheric highs - $200, $250 or even $300 a barrel. Some of these signs are just plain obvious. But even the subtle indicators are telling us that some very expensive energy costs headed our way.
Let me tell you about one such indicator that I came across over the New Year holiday. A tiny news item said that Saudi Arabian oil concern Aramco is abandoning a lease on Caribbean oil storage, and further reported that PetroChina Co. Ltd. (NYSE ADR: PTR) is moving in to take Aramco's place.
Most investors here in the West - if they even read the item - would've dismissed it as just another minor business transaction, one among the thousands that take place each day. But this particular deal was much more than that. It's another indication of China's continued global emergence. And it also underscores this country's relegation to the growing legion of "former" world powers that have been eviscerated by the financial crisis that they created.
In case you missed the story, let me share the details, and then explain what I believe those details actually mean.
To see why China is the "new" Saudi Arabia, read on...
Wall Street Scrambles its "Contango Convoy" to Capitalize on Higher Oil Demand
A 26-mile-long line of idled oil tankers, enough to blockade the English Channel, are firing up their engines and jockeying for position in a race to cash in on the bone-chilling deep-freeze plaguing the North America, Europe, and Asia.
The supertankers, each of which can hold over 2 million barrels of oil, are steaming "all ahead full" to deliver their stores of crude, heating oil and other distillates to the United States.
Their clients - which include several huge Wall Street investment firms - are eager to unwind what's become known as the oil storage trade.
Cold Snap Lighting a Fire Under Energy Complex and Agri-Commodities
A relentless surge of cold weather is slamming nearly every country in the Northern Hemisphere, disrupting travel, threatening crops and driving energy and commodity prices higher as investors look for ways to cash in.
In the United States, crude oil is trading near a 14-month high. Natural gas and heating oil prices have also surged, as the U.S. shivered under the onslaught of an arctic express that sent temperatures plummeting below zero across two-thirds of the country. Even Florida growers try to protect orange groves from overnight freezing temperatures.
The cold snap is one of the nation's most widespread since January 1985, according to meteorologists at Accuweather.com. While the cold is expected to ease slightly starting Thursday, this winter is on track to be one of the coldest in the past two decades, Ken Reeves, director of forecasting operations at Accuweather told The Wall Street Journal.
Investment News Briefs
With our investment news briefs, Money Morning provides investors with a quick overview of the most important investing news stories from all around the world.
Total Forms Joint Venture with Chesapeake; Manufacturing Index Jumps; Cold Snap Drives Oil Higher; Car Sales Surge in December; Kraft Advances Bid for Cadbury; New BofA CEO Optimistic for U.S. This Year, But Krugman Shows Caution; WSJ: Banned Chinese Companies Continued to Do Business With U.S. Firms
- Total SA (NYSE ADR: TOT) will pay up to $2.25 billion for a 25% stake in Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s (NYSE: CHK) assets in the Barnett Shale natural gas field in North Texas, Total said yesterday (Monday). Total will pay $800 million for the stake, and up to $1.45 billion for as long as six years by funding 60% of Chesapeake's costs in the field. The Barnett Shale field is the biggest producer of natural gas in the United States and accounted for 52% of Chesapeake's third-quarter output.