Updated to reflect stock prcies after the market open.



) -- Monday morning was showing another downward move for oil futures as the front-month contract was trading below $71.

Light, sweet crude for October delivery was down $2.28 to $70.46 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, the price on the contract settled at $72.74 after gaining 25 cents.

Media reports were blaming a host of reasons for the early morning tumble: creeping doubts about a near-term economic recovery, a strengthening dollar and continuing inventory fears, among others. But the morning slide comes nearly a weak after prices tested the $75 threshold.

Elsewhere, in the services realm,

Baker Hughes


announced plans to buy

BJ Services



$5.5 billion in a cash-and-stock deal.

After the announcement on Monday, BJ Services shares were adding $1.36, or 8.8%, to $16.79 in early morning trading action. Baker Hughes shares had fallen by 6.9%.

Among the oil majors,

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

was losing another 47 cents at $69.65 before the market open Monday. On Friday, the shares dropped 74 cents to close at $70.12.

Also on Friday,


(COP) - Get Report

finished mostly flat after losing 3 cents at $45.70.


(CVX) - Get Report

closed in the red after losing 32 cents to end at $70.68.

-- Written by Sung Moss in New York

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