Oil: Win, Lose or Draw?

Predicting the future is always risky, but when it comes to the oil business, it often seems downright impossible. Who could have foreseen the shocking oil- price hikes of the 1970s? And then prophesied bottom-of-the-barrel cuts in the 1980s? No wonder the possibility of a cease-fire between Iran and Iraq threw oil traders into a frenzy last week as they tried to divine whether the cost of crude would ultimately go up or down.

For now, at least, traders are betting that oil production will drop and prices will rise. Reason: both Iran and Iraq have pumped as much oil as...

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