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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery added 47 cents to $89.01 on the New York Merc, while Brent for October added 80 cents to $94.92 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $19.67 to WTI, down from a discount of $19.63. Natural gas for September lost six cents to $8.06. The TSX energy index added 4.02 points to close at 217.70.
Oil sands giant Suncor Energy Inc. (SU) lost 27 cents to $39.19 on 18.2 million shares, after releasing its second quarter financials. The headline-grabbing number was its net profit of $3.99-billion, quadruple its earnings of $868-million in the same period last year. This year's figure included a $715-million asset impairment reversal.
Lofty profit aside, the numbers bore some scars of Suncor's recent operational woes. Production of 720,000 barrels a day was a tad below analysts' predictions of 729,000 barrels a day (although cash flow of $3.80 a share was still above analysts' predictions of $3.72 a share). Moreover, Suncor decreased its full-year production target while increasing its budget, the exact opposite of what investors prefer. The company originally wanted to produce up to 790,000 barrels a day on a budget of $4.7-billion. Now it is aiming for a maximum of 760,000 barrels a day on a budget of up to $5.2-billion. The hike reflects inflation as well as extra spending "to improve safety and reliability."
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