Oil Analysts Down for the Count

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First of all, there was the crude oil inventory estimate. The guys with the green eyeshades thought stocks would rise by 1.2 million barrels over the previous week's level. Market action yesterday seemed to intimate a different view, though.

Ooops. Oil Patch analysts were whiffed this week and missed on all four of their consensus calls on oil supply and production. While all the forecasts missed their collective marks, a couple got mighty close to the bull's eye.

First of all, there was the crude oil inventory estimate. The guys with the green eyeshades thought stocks would rise by 1.2 million barrels over the previous week's level. Market action yesterday seemed to intimate a different view, though. December NYMEX crude rallied to close above $70 for the first time in two weeks on Tuesday. That might have been a little Election Day exuberance. Overnight, crude eased back on profit-taking ahead of the weekly supply report's release by the Energy Information Administration.

When the EIA numbers finally came out, both bulls and bears were, at first blush at least, disappointed. Inventories, it turns out, remained flat at 311.0 million barrels. December crude, which opened the NYMEX floor session at $70, off a half-buck from Tuesday's close, then started to churn down to the $68 level as the inventory numbers were digested.

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