Oil Holds Above $70 a Barrel

The June delivery crude contract lost $1.53, or 2.1%, to settle at $70.08 a barrel after falling as low as $69.27 during the session.
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) -- Crude oil futures managed to settle slightly above the $70-a-barrel mark Monday after threatening to slip below during a rocky session for U.S. equities.

Many feared it would be another day of triple-digit losses for the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

as the euro, pressured by persistent European sovereign debt crisis concerns, hit a

four-year low in the morning. Late in the session, however,

stocks reversed course and U.S. indices managed to post modest gains on the session.

Widespread reports were citing the declining euro, strengthening dollar and demand concerns on the Continent because of stymied growth as the primary drags on the commodity. The June delivery crude contract lost $1.53, or 2.1%, to settle at $70.08 a barrel after hitting a low of $69.27 and trading as high as $72.25.

No new major developments came out of the eurozone today. But the

euro is still reeling from pessimistic sentiment for the area. The fear of contagion risk has lingered, despite an announced $1 trillion aid package last week, as concerns remain that fiscal cutback efforts could trim economic advancement in Europe and as questions swirl about the currency's long-term viability.

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Late in the session, the euro showed some signs of stabilization. The greenback, which had been gaining roughly 0.6% against an array of global currencies according to the dollar index, was up by 0.1%.

Related equities also came under pressure during the session and the stronger dollar made it one of the session's weakest sectors. The NYSE Arca Oil index was off by 0.8%, and the Philadelphia Oil Service Sector index was losing 1.7%.

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

was among the Dow's biggest laggards, finishing down by 0.5% but fellow Dow component


(CVX) - Get Report

managed to finish 1% higher at $77.87.

More promising news about the

oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico

finally surfaced over the weekend. According to

The New York Times



(BP) - Get Report

was able to divert some oil from the leak to an awaiting vessel using a long tube. Still, that news came coupled with a separate, more dour assessment from scientists who say the leak has led to vast, deepwater plumes that make the slick larger than expected. American depositary shares for BP lost 30 cents, or 0.6%, at $46.57.

Elsewhere on the Nymex, the June natural gas contract gained 9 cents, or 2%, to trade at $4.40 per million British thermal units. June heating oil shed 8 cents, or 3.7%, to settle at $1.99 a gallon, while June gasoline lost 9 cents, or 4.1%, to settle at $2.04 a gallon.

--Written by Sung Moss and Melinda Peer in New York