OPEC failed the markets, but a Kuwaiti Oil worker strike came through
It was only a matter of time before the overly bearish supply fundamentals in crude oil were overshadowed by a supply disruption at the hands of Mid-East turmoil. What some believed on Sunday night was the beginning of another precipitous crude oil decline, quickly turned into a sharp energy rally on news of a Kuwaiti oil worker strike. Adding fuel to the fire was a report released this morning by the U.S. Energy Information Administration suggesting distillate stocks (heating oil/diesel/gasoline) experienced small declines. Remember, commodity markets don't need an actual change in fundamentals to turn things around, they just need the perception that it is possible. In other words, crunching supply and demand data isn't going to change momentum.
The direction of crude oil matters to financial futures traders because it is was a big weight on equities earlier in the year. Higher energy prices eases concerns of contagious debt defaults in junk bonds, and could eventually put layed off shale oil workers back on the job.