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Oil Prices Struggle Alongside Stocks

The October delivery contract for crude on the Nymex was falling 65 cents to $74.52 a barrel.
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) -- Oil prices struggled alongside equities Monday as market watchers continued seeing less encouraging signs in the economic landscape.

The October delivery contract for crude on the Nymex was falling 65 cents to $74.52 a barrel. Phil Flynn, an energy analyst at PFGBest, said oil was coming under pressure because of continuing indicators fueling lingering doubts about economic growth, influencing the clear correlation between the major stock market averages and oil futures Monday.


Oil prices are kind of following the stock market," he said, putting this week's jobs report and other economic figures on the front of traders' minds, and relegating weekly oil supply statistics to second-tier status among the datastream. "Despite the fact fundamentals are overwhelmingly bearish, we're following the stock market because it's an indicator of how the overall economy is doing."

Flynn also noted that

Federal Reserve

Chairman Ben Bernanke's deflation concerns "in a weird way" are also keeping prices higher than fundamentals should dictate.


Dow Jones Industrial Average was losing 58 points, or 0.6%, at 10,093. A strengthening dollar against the euro, too, was pressuring crude, while the more broadly tracking dollar index was up 0.2% Monday.

Energy stocks were only egging on the larger decline in stocks, as the NYSE Arca Oil index was shedding 0.7% and the Philadelphia Oil Service Sector index was dropping 0.1%. Blue-chip integrated players

Exxon Mobil

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were sliding 0.7% each.

Elsewhere on the Nymex, the October natural gas contract was surging 13 cents to $3.83 per million British thermal units. Heating oil for October delivery was sliding 1-cent lower to $2.04 a gallon, while October gasoline was losing nearly a penny at $1.91 a gallon.

--Written by Sung Moss in New York.

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