Thursday, January 18, 2007

House Puts Kibosh on Big Oil

In the final legislative action of Nancy Pelosi's much-publicized first 100 hours of the 110th Congress, House members voted 264-163 in favor of a sweeping bill that cut tax breaks to oil companies and imposed sanctions that would recoup royalties that the government says it is owed.

In total, the bill could salvage as much as $15 billion from the pockets of the big US-based oil companies, particularly, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips. The bill was debated in a highly partisan session, with Republicans claiming that the measure would cause gas prices to rise and Democrats heralding a new direction in energy policy.

Whether the Senate will follow suit is yet unknown, but the majority vote in the House was not enough to override a near-certain presidential veto.

Earlier in the day, Wall Street continued its assault on all things tech, sending the Nasdaq lower by 36 points, the largest point drop since November 27, 2006. The Nasdaq has lost nearly 60 points over the last three sessions, a trend that has been tied to disappointing projections from companies such as Intel, Cisco and Apple.

Next up on the earnings parade is Motorola, anticipated to announce quarterly earnings of 25 cents per share before markets open. Around the same time, Dow component General Electric will report. 64 cents is the anticipated per share figure.

The Dow was off a marginal 9.22, with the S&P losing 4.25. Light sweet crude for February delivery was pounded lower again, briefly dipping below $50/bbl. on the NYMerc before closing at $50.48.

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