Chevron and Exxon Lag the Market as Oil Prices Surge

Chevron and Exxon Lag the Market as Oil Prices Surge

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Markets and oil prices are up around the world as a deal has emerged in the Senate to end the government shutdown and extend the debt ceiling until early 2014. As of 1:30 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 192 points to 15,360, while the S&P 500 is up 21 points to 1,719.

Senate leaders have agreed on a plan that would extend the debt ceiling until Feb. 7 and fund the government through Jan. 15. The agreement also sets a Dec. 13 deadline for a budget plan. The only concession House Republicans appear to have won from the debt ceiling ordeal is an income verification for those who get subsidies to buy health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges.

The bill must now be voted on and passed in both the Senate and House of Representatives, then signed by President Obama. While markets are up on news of the deal, this really just kicks the budget can three months down the road, setting up another showdown just after the holiday season.

A look at oil
The oil and gas market doesn't seem to care that this is just a temporary deal. In the U.S., WTI crude is up 1.15% to $102.37, and natural gas is up 0.87% to $3.82. Internationally, Brent Crude is up 0.75%, to $110.79.

Dow oil giants Chevron and ExxonMobil are lagging the market's 1.2% rise today, as oil prices are up less than the overall market.

It has now been 15 days since the government shutdown started. While we won't know for some time what effect the shutdown has had on the economy, economists' estimates call for a hit to GDP growth of between 0.1 to 0.15 percentage points of GDP per week. Oil prices are highly sensitive to economic growth, and the slowdown in the U.S. has led to reduced U.S. oil use and a widening of the WTI-Brent crude spread.

The large determinants of oil prices going forward will continue to be political stability in oil-producing nations, economic growth around the world -- particularly the U.S. and China -- and the continuation or lifting of economic sanctions on Iran.

So long as Congress doesn't let the U.S. default on its debt, the biggest news in oil markets for the rest of the week should come tomorrow evening when we get data on economic growth in China.

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Dan Dzombak can be found on Twitter @DanDzombak or on his Facebook page, DanDzombak. He has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Chevron. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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