Crude Oil Prices Stumble - TheStreet

Crude oil futures weakened in Monday's trading session at the New York Mercantile Exchange, primarily because of reduced concerns over geopolitical issues, but other energy contracts escaped the sellers.

June light sweet crude slid 75 cents to $65.71 a barrel. At the same time, reformulated gasoline gained 7 cents to $2.43 a gallon.

Heating oil remained flat at $1.91 a gallon, and natural gas edged 3 cents higher to $7.86 per million British thermal units.

Iran's decision to participate in a regional conference on Iraqi security later this week is helping to mitigate worries about global instability. Representatives of the U.S. government will also attend the gathering.

Also contributing to lower oil prices were reduced tensions in Nigeria a week after its presidential elections.

"It seems to us that the elections -- flawed as they were -- will most likely be seen as a done deal, since with each passing day, it will be increasingly difficult for the opposition to mobilize sentiment," according to Edward Meir, energy analyst at Man Financial, in an email.

Meanwhile, the session was the ninth in a row that the contract for reformulated gasoline gained value on the Nymex. Malfunctions at various refineries, including

Marathon's

(MRO) - Get Report

Garyville, La., site and

ConocoPhillips'

(COP) - Get Report

Sweeny, Texas, operation, promise to put further pressure on gasoline supplies this week, Meir said.

Energy stocks finished mostly to the upside. The

CBOE Oil Index

climbed 0.46% to 690.04.

Chevron

(CVX) - Get Report

, ConocoPhillips and

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

all ended fractionally higher.

Italian integrated oil and gas company

Eni SpA

(E) - Get Report

announced that it will spend $4.8 billion to acquire the Gulf of Mexico assets of

Dominion Resources

(D) - Get Report

. The purchase will increase Eni's oil production in the Gulf of Mexico from 36,000 barrels of oil per day to more than 110,000 barrels of oil per day by the second half of 2007, according to a press release.

Shares of Eni were down 0.8% to $66.24 on the

New York Stock Exchange

.

Elsewhere, electricity provider

FPL Group

(FPL) - Get Report

announced first-quarter net income of $150 million, or 38 cents a share, compared with $251 million, or 64 cents a share, during the same period a year ago. The reduction in earnings was primarily due to a $126 million loss from nonqualifying hedge positions.

FPL's revenue declined to $3.08 billion from $3.6 billion in the first quarter a year ago. However, the firm's stock rose 0.7% to $64.37.

Among analyst actions, Wachovia upgraded

Allegheny Energy

( AYE) to outperform from market perform, sending the stock 0.9% higher to $53.46.

Enbridge Energy

(EEP)

was downgraded by Wachovia to market perform from outperform, and its shares were 2.3% lower at $59.81.