Oil in the news

Over the weekend, an interesting story came out from Alaska that could potentially cause a spike in crude oil over the coming weeks. A pipeline that is responsible for nearly 10 percent of U.S. crude oil output was shut down Saturday morning. The pipeline carries 740,000 barrels of crude oil a day from northern Alaska to the southern port. The pipeline is operated by Alyeska Pipeline, which is owned by several major producers like Chevron, Exxon, Conoco, and BP. As a result of this weekend’s shutdown, all of Alaska’s North Slope producers have been forced to cut their production rate to 5 percent. BP spokesman Steve Rinehart called the shutdown a significant event. believes that this could cause a short term spike in crude oil prices, however BP may have the least to gain. In our opinion, regardless of oil prices the last thing BP needed was a potential environmental issue. As far as prices are concerned, OPEC may not admit it, but they probably miss $100 oil, so expecting them to offset price increases is highly unlikely. will be monitoring this shutdown and how it will effect 2011 trends.

Will bipartisanship be a new trend in D.C.?

With the Republicans taking over the house last week, President Obama will finally have a chance to fulfill his campaign promise of bipartisanship. President Clinton, after losing a similar midterm election in 1994, quickly moved to the middle and it seemed to have worked out. With 2012 on the President’s mind, we believe it is likely that the President will start talking tough on deficits. With gridlock in D.C., more stimulus is unlikely and bailouts are probably out of the question for at least 6 months. The big issue for Q1 is going to be the debt ceiling. In our opinion, nothing will impact the markets more than this issue. In fact, just like TARP, expect wild volatility if the House votes ‘no’ on the first try of increasing the debt limit. In the end, just like TARP, we believe our politicians in D.C. will increase it probably to somewhere around 16 trillion.

Earnings hype

Earnings season kicks off this week for the final quarter of 2010. The hope is that we will see strong Q4 results, but has a contrarian view when it comes to all the hype about the retailers. With all this hype we expect Wall St. to be let down because the bar, in our opinion, is just too high. This isn’t 2006 when people could pull 50,000 dollars out of their house, during 2010, the only thing getting pulled out of houses were the homeowners. September alone was a record breaking month for foreclosures.

Our new poll

Every once and a while likes to test the waters of the smart money. Don’t forget to participate in our newest poll on the bottom of our homepage. It’s not scientific, but we have found our members to be very accurate when taking a collective poll.