Oil fell another $1.30 today to less than $98 after the Department of Labor reported a slightly disappointing 148,000 jobs created in September. This is the second consecutive day oil has tumbled, falling because of a larger-than-expected rise in inventory yesterday.
While oil itself is down, neither the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) nor its energy components are feeling the same effects. The Dow is up 0.6% late in trading, and Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) and ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) are up 0.7% and 1%, respectively.
While oil has fallen from around $103 per barrel last Wednesday to less than $98 per barrel today, Chevron and ExxonMobil are both up just less than 1%. The reason oil isn't pulling them down is that falling oil prices aren't all bad for business. While exploration profits may suffer from lower oil prices, profits will go up on the refining side of the business. Refineries make a profit on the difference between the price of gasoline and the price of oil, and that has actually widened in the past week.
While oil is down about 5% over the past week, gasoline has only dropped about $0.02 to $3.35 per gallon, according to GasBuddy. That's a drop of about 0.6%, which differs from the drop in oil prices and leaves more profit for Chevron and ExxonMobil's refineries. It's like taking profit out of one pocket and putting it in another.
Another energy member in the S&P 500
The other energy stock making noise today is Transocean (NYSE: RIG ) , the offshore drilling-rig owner, which will be added to the S&P 500 on Oct. 28. The stock is up 5.5% on the news, primarily because S&P 500 index funds will soon be forced to buy the stock.
A pop like this doesn't often last long, because buyers today are buying for more technical reasons than fundamental ones. With that said, Transocean is well-positioned in an expanding ultra-deepwater drilling market, so it will profit from some of the long-term price pressures facing companies like Chevron and ExxonMobil in the oil industry.
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