Energy markets rise on Sandy, insurers fall

Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:54pm EDT
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By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. gasoline and heating oil futures gained while U.S. Treasuries also rose on Monday, as economic worries over Hurricane Sandy fueled safe-haven buying in thin trading as the powerful storm began to batter the U.S. East Coast.

The storm closed Wall Street on the anniversary of the 1929 stock market crash. It was the stock market's first weather-related closure in 27 years, and other markets closed early as investors braced for the impact of Sandy, one of the biggest storms ever to slam the U.S. eastern seaboard.

U.S. stock and bond markets will be closed on Tuesday, but the two-largest U.S. stock exchange operators, NYSE Euronext NYX.N and Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ.O: Quote), intend to reopen Wednesday, conditions permitting.

Trading was thin in U.S. foreign exchange, fixed income, precious metals and energy markets as public transportation was shut in New York and parts of lower Manhattan were evacuated.

"You have uncertainties now. You have these safe haven purchases. People are trying to figure out the economic impact from the storm," said Larry Milstein, head of government and agency trading at R.W. Pressprich & Co in New York.

"Right now it's the easy way to buy Treasuries and wait to see what happens," Milstein said.

Benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury notes traded 8/32 higher in price to yield 1.7206 percent.

U.S. heating oil futures gained, touching the highest level relative to U.S. crude oil on record, as dealers hedged against the risk of power outages and flooding from Sandy that could damage refineries and keep production shut for weeks.   Continued...

A city trader monitors stock prices in London.