Oil prices move above $76 as traders eye equities


Oil prices move above $76 in Europe as investors mull stocks markets, corporate earnings

, Associated Press Writer, On Monday July 19, 2010, 7:48 am EDT


Oil prices moved above $76 a barrel Monday as traders eyed a modest rebound in stock markets despite continuing economic uncertainty.


By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for August delivery was up 32 cents to $76.33 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 61 cents to settle at $76.01 on Friday.


The price fell as low as $75.88 early Monday, weighed down by a drop in consumer confidence and disappointing corporate results at the end of last week, but rebounded as European stock markets rose and Wall Street was expected to post a slight upturn.


“Uncertainty continues to mark the status quo,” JBC Energy in Vienna said in a report.


The U.S. recovery continued during the second quarter of this year with more businesses hiring workers and fewer cutting jobs, but the pace of growth has slowed, according to a survey released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics.


“Persisting concerns about the economy could result in further position squaring and allow prices to fall again in the direction of $70,” Commerzbank said in a note to investors.


Later Monday, the National Association of Home Builders was due to release its July housing market index, which tracks industry confidence.


Oil prices fluttered in the mid-$70s last week as investors sought insight into the strength of the global economy from the start of second quarter company results in the U.S.


More key corporate earnings reports are due this week, including from International Business Machines Corp. on Monday, followed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.. Later in the week come reports from Coca-Cola Co., Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp.


In other Nymex trading in August contracts, heating oil rose 1.47 cents to $2.026 a gallon, gasoline was up 1 cent to $2.0586 a gallon and natural gas fell 3 cents to $4.489 per 1,000 cubic feet.


Brent crude was up 29 cents to $75.66 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange.


Associated Press writer Alex Kennedy in Singapore contributed to this report.



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