Energy (NYSEARCA:XLE) sank to the bottom the S&P sector leaderboard on Thursday, -1.8%, with crude oil falling sharply after Russia downplayed the likelihood of further OPEC+ production cuts at the cartel’s June 3-4 meeting.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak reportedly told the Izvestia newspaper that he did not expect any additional measures would be announced.
As a result, crude futures fell for the first time after three straight daily gains, helped in part by remarks from Saudi Arabia’s top energy official that were taken as a signal that OPEC and its allies could move to further reduce output.
“The Saudis were trying to talk up oil prices and dangle a threat of more production cuts, but it looks like Russia won’t be on board for additional cuts,” Oanda analyst Edward Moya said.
Front-month Nymex crude (CL1:COM) for July delivery settled -3.4% to $71.83/bbl, and July Brent crude (CO1:COM) closed -2.7% to $76.26/bbl.
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The S&P energy sector is now the weakest performer of the month, -7.5% since the end of April.
Thursday’s weaker performers in the group included Devon Energy (DVN) -3.6%, Hess (HES) -3%, Marathon Oil (MRO) -2.8%, EOG Resources (EOG) -2.5%, Diamondback Energy (FANG) -2.5%, Baker Hughes (BKR) -2.5%.
Crude oil will reclaim the $80/bbl level in this year’s H2 and could continue rising toward $90 due to a deepening supply deficit caused by OPEC’s production cuts and the lack of response from U.S. shale, Bank of America analysts forecast last week.