Continuing its relentless march toward the magical summit of $100, the price of a barrel of oil hit an intra-day high of $92.22 on Friday. Meanwhile, in Shanghai, demand for a piece of PetroChina’s IPO is so intense that the entire rest of the stock market is being squeezed, say analysts, due to all the funds being directed toward the huge oil company.
PetroChina recently passed General Electric to become the second largest company in the world, as measured by market capitalization, and some observers think it has a shot at unseating the perennial champion, Exxon-Mobil.
But Warren Buffett, sad to say, won’t be enjoying any of that bounty. In a rare display of bad market timing, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway holding company sold off its last remaining stake in PetroChina a week ago. Buffett claims that his decision to sell had nothing to do with the Save Darfur disinvestment campaign — PetroChina’s corporate owner, China National Petroleum Co., is heavily involved in Sudanese oil — and even expressed regret at having sold too soon. But one has to wonder, especially given the latest news from Africa, where rebel forces attacked the Defra oil field on Tuesday.
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Andrew Leonard – Salon