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$80 Crude Oil Is Not Justified, Poll Says

Is $80 oil justified? In a poll of users of TheStreet, a majority believe the answer is no.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Oil futures on the NYMEX topped $80 last week for the front-month contract.

Thus, with reports swirling about what the threshold crossing meant, we asked

TheStreet

readers a simple question:

Do you think the $80-plus price of oil is justified now?

A week later, about 30% of readers who put in a vote thought the price was justified. Still, with nearly 70% of the vote, an overwhelming majority of voters said "no."

And with futures prices dipping back under $80 this week, maybe the "no" votes were on to something.

To recap, prices have yet to come close to the historical highs from last year, when oil futures topped $100. This week, earnings reports from the likes of

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report

,

ConocoPhillips

(COP) - Get ConocoPhillips Report

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,

Chevron

(CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report

and

Royal Dutch Shell

(RDS.A)

showed that profits for the major integrated oil operations were hit hard in year-over comparisons as a result.

Regardless, in recent months, prices are again tracking higher, thanks in part to a weakened dollar and sputtering hopes of economic improvement.

But those many "no" voters are likely sensing the sentiment that prices are moving higher without better demand, as inventory for both crude and fuels remain at above average levels.

One commenter alluded to the delicate balancing act that oil prices play, as fears abound that increasing prices may choke off the economic healing before it fully takes hold. As my_triumph wrote: "It's gonna kill the next recovery."

-- Written by Sung Moss in New York

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