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Crude oil dropped sharply Thursday, with futures ending under $70 a barrel, as petroleum stockpiles climbed and data showed dwindling demand in the U.S.

November-dated futures dropped $4.69 to $69.85 in New York and have now slid more than 50% since the all-time high that was reached in July. Oil hasn't been below $70 in more than a year.

Brent crude lost $4.48 to $66.32 a barrel. Gasoline futures declined by 16 cents to $1.62 a gallon, and heating oil fell 10 cents to $2.09 a gallon. Natural gas, however, was stronger.

Stocks in the energy sector were generally to the upside.

Exxon Mobil

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(COP) - Get ConocoPhillips Report



(CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report

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all rose.





(VLO) - Get Valero Energy Corporation Report

also advanced.


U.S. Oil

(USO) - Get United States Oil Fund LP Report

ETF, which tracks crude prices, was down 2.3%.

This article was written by a staff member of