Plunging Crude Prices Hammer Energy Companies - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

Plunging crude prices hammer energy companies

Plunging Crude Prices Hammer Energy Companies

By Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - OPEC's decision this week to maintain current levels of oil production is hammering major energy companies here and abroad.

Many energy experts had expected the group of oil producing countries meeting in Vienna this week to act to halt a slide in the price of crude since this summer. OPEC announced Thursday that it would not cut production.

The effect was immediate. The price of benchmark U.S. crude tumbled 10 percent Friday to settle at $66.15 a barrel. That's after the price of a barrel of benchmark U.S. crude, which cost well above $100 as recently as June, had fallen to about $73 as of this week.

Shares of companies across the energy industry fell, with Chevron sliding 5 percent while Exxon Mobil fell 4 percent.

But the pain being felt by energy producers is proving to be a big gain for consumers and businesses that are heavily reliant on energy. And airlines, package delivery services and cruise lines are riding high as they spend less on fuel. Southwest Airlines share prices rose 6.5 percent Friday, the most in the S&P 500 index, while Delta was the second-biggest gainer with a 5.5 percent climb.
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