Materials Up as Dollar Weakens -- Materials Roundup

Features Dow Jones Newswires

Shares of energy producers ticked down as traders hedged their bets on the outlook for oil prices. Oil futures have bounced around their lows of the year on increasingly bearish sentiment about supply levels, particularly in the U.S.

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The latest tally of active oil rigs in the U.S. from Baker Hughes showed another increase in activity. Analysts at brokerage Nomura Securities said a survey of shale-oil drillers in the Midland, Texas, area showed that the producers were taking a rise in the price of sand -- a vital ingredient for fracking -- in their stride. "The general view in the field is that sand prices will plateau, even at significantly higher levels of completion activity, given the rapid emergence of regional supply and a growing willingness on the part of the exploration-and-production companies to use those sources," said the Nomura analysts, in a note to clients. "Generally, this bodes well for the pumpers; though the conversation is actually shifting to how best to position in an environment with falling sand prices."

(-By Rob Curran, rob.curran@dowjones.com)

Shares of miners and other commodities producers rose as the dollar weakened against other currencies in the wake of weak manufacturing data. The surprisingly weak data prompted bets that the Federal Reserve would postpone rate increases, which would likely buoy the rate-sensitive materials sector.

Gold prices slid near the open after an unusually large sell order in futures markets.

Martin Marietta Materials agreed to buy closely held aggregates company Bluegrass Materials for $1.63 billion in cash, in an effort to expand its southeastern U.S. footprint. Aggregates, one of Martin Marietta's main existing product lines, are the quarried stone used in road construction and other applications.

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(-By Rob Curran, rob.curran@dowjones.com)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 26, 2017 16:19 ET (20:19 GMT)