Gasoline rose along with equities on speculation that the Federal Reserve will act to stimulate the economy as jobless claims increased and consumer prices fell by the most in three years.
Futures gained as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.6 percent at 3:03 p.m. in New York. Consumer prices sank in May by the most in more than three years as fuel prices declined, and claims for jobless benefits climbed by 6,000 to 386,000 in the week ended June 9, two reports from the Labor Department showed.
“This increases the likelihood that the Fed will do more quantitative easing,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
Gasoline for July delivery rose 2.1 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $2.6764 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement this week.
The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to meet June 19-20.
There is a 60 percent chance the FOMC will announce more stimulus efforts at the meeting, Newedge Strategy analyst Annalisa Piazza said in a note to clients today.
“We’re riding a wave of some hopes on the stimulus and equities are up,” said Fred Rigolini, vice president of Paramount Options Inc. in New York.
The Energy Department reported yesterday that deliveries of gasoline to wholesalers increased 5.6 percent, to 9.13 million barrels a day, the highest level since August. Prices at the pump are the lowest since February.
“The drop in gasoline prices means people are going to drive a little bit more but if the jobs market continues to be weak, that rebound in gasoline will be limited,” Flynn said.
Heating oil for July delivery rose 1.69 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $2.6278 a gallon, after settling yesterday at the lowest level since January 2011.
Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.7 cent to $3.532 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA. It was the lowest price since Feb. 16.
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