Energy futures prices flowed sharply to limit lower Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange after OPEC members failed to reach an agreement on production quotas.
In other markets, gold closed at its highest level in two years, soybean futures led the grains to lower levels and livestock moved slightly ahead in choppy trading. A continuing oil-products glut may have weakened petroleum futures.
But the sharp downturn followed news from Geneva that members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries failed to reach consensus on production quotas and instead would rely on voluntary cuts by "9 or 10" members to trim nearly 10% of the cartel's daily output--1.925 million barrels a day.
"Disappointment just increased over their inability to put anything concrete together," said Jim Ritterbusch of Paine Webber in Chicago. "Voluntary cuts appear to be the route, but the burden of proof is with them to make it happen."
"OPEC is back at the tables trying to come up with quotas again," said Ed Dellamonte, an analyst with Prudential-Bache Securities in New York. "That's a difficult and drawn-out process, and the market reacted and sold off rather sharply."