Saudis cut oil price to U.S., hitting major oil stocks

Saudis cut oil price to U.S., hitting major oil stocks

Aramco complex.
Saudi Aramco complex. Buildings are the Engineering Building, Admin Towers, Almujamma' Mosque, and the Old Administration Building. (Via Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON, November 4, 2014 – Lots happening today, but we’re running a short column due to several appointments plus doing our duty at the polls today in Virginia. Wherever you are, you should, too.

Meanwhile, things are a little weird on Wall Street this morning after another bout of irrational exuberance on Monday that was tempered by the usual late-day selling. Word is out that the Saudis have done something quite extraordinary: they’ve dropped the price of oil they sell to the U.S., while jacking up prices to other customers across the globe.

The move seems to be an attempt by the Saudis to shore up and/or retain market share in the U.S. against a rising tide of domestic production due to the current fracking boom.

After getting as low as $78 bbl. yesterday, the price of West Texas Intermediate has dropped again to $77 and change this morning. Word is that major oil companies and wildcat frackers alike can still make a profit if prices get down as low as $70 bbl. But Monday’s selloff in major oils seems likely to continue today since it’s driven these days by HFTs that trade only on headlines, not numbers.

On other fronts, Alibaba [BABA] reported expected great numbers this morning, at least in terms of revenue. Profits were more or less flat, but the company explains it’s enormously increased its initiatives and promotional budgets to gain share, so that’s not surprising. We’ll see how markets—particularly tech and ride-along stock Yahoo! (YHOO) fare after this kind of news, which is often sold rather than bought.

Meanwhile, in case you didn’t notice, it is indeed Election Day 2014 today, as voters across the country—including loads of illegal ones in Democrat-dominated cities—go to the polls (if they haven’t already voted) to vote for a big change in the direction of government. Or not.

Keep it tuned here at CDN, and jump into our election-night chat this evening if you feel like handicapping the results or just weighing in with an opinion.

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Terry Ponick
Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17