) -- The word for the day may be "despite."

To wit, despite news that the

manufacturing sector swung from contraction to growth in August, and despite word that

pending existing home sales bumped up to a two-year high, crude futures fell alongside equities in the afternoon.

After data pointing to general economic healing came to light this morning, benchmark crude for delivery in October shrugged and slid $1.39 at $68.57 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange by the afternoon.

The dollar also stayed to script, as waning risk appetite in the markets rallied the greenback.

Meanwhile, today's move down continued yesterday's slide when the price dropped $2.78 to settle at $69.96.

Though investors may have rolled their eyes during this morning's flurry of economic data, the oil-watching world will turn its gaze again to two weekly inventory reports due closer to home. The industry's own American Petroleum Institute will release its stockpile numbers after the market closes today, while the Energy Department will put out its inventory data Wednesday morning.

Elsewhere, oil majors continued losing ground today.

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

was off 1.2% in the early afternoon, while


(CVX) - Get Report

was dropping 2.1%.


(HES) - Get Report


Marathon Oil

(MRO) - Get Report



(COP) - Get Report

weren't doing much better, declining 1.4%, 1.8% and 2.1%, respectively.

Even overseas oil consortiums were feeling the pain, as American depositary shares for


(BP) - Get Report


Royal Dutch Shell


were losing 2% and 2.2%.

-- Written by Sung Moss in New York

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