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Crude Oil Slumps to $84 a Barrel

The June delivery contract for crude lost 92 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at $84.20 a barrel on a stronger U.S. dollar.
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) -- Crude oil prices slumped to $84 a barrel Monday as a stronger greenback made dollar-priced commodities less attractive to foreign buyers.

Although the June delivery contract for crude traded as high as $85.63 on Monday, it finished only a little higher than its lowest point of the session: $84.06. The contract lost 92 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at $84.20 a barrel -- a disappointing turn after its performance on Friday, when it added $1.42 to settle at $85.12 a barrel on surging new-home sales and strong durable goods orders.

A strong U.S. dollar, which was trading 0.3% higher against a basket of foreign currencies for most of the session, was putting some downward pressure on crude. The dollar index was last up by 0.1%. The

dollar was picking up against the euro, in particular, as concerns arose about how and when a financial rescue package to aid Greece will become ratified.

Stocks failed to establish a clear direction Monday. The Dow spent the session in positive territory, supported by strong earnings results from


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while other major U.S. indices were pressured by concerns about tightened financial regulations.

Oil-related stocks were moving both above and below the flat line, with the NYSE Arca Oil index losing 0.5% and the Philadelphia Oil Service Sector index dropping 0.4%.

Exxon Mobil

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were the only oil majors to close slightly ahead Monday.

This week is a big one for major oil firms, which are set to report earnings news.

National Oilwell Varco

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will report before Tuesday's opening bell.

On Wednesday,


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will offer its first-quarter assessment in the morning.

Integrated majors ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil will be joined by


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Smith International



BJ Services


in reporting Thursday morning. By the late afternoon, the market will hear from refiners


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, which are each expected to report losses.

Dow component Chevron will cap the week's oil-related releases by reporting Friday.

Shares of


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, which

received a price target and earnings estimate lift at Citi, added a penny, or 0.01%, at $72.69.

Elsewhere, workers were attempting to contain an oil leak off the Gulf of Mexico, according to multiple reports, that is unleashing some 1,000 barrels of oil a day into the water. The spill began after an oil rig controlled by


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, which was then leased out to


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, experienced an explosion and sunk late last week. The

Associated Press

reported the leak could take months to completely fix.

Shares of natural gas alternative fuel provider

Clean Energy Fuels

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lost 9% as the climate bill stalled in Washington.

Elsewhere, the natural gas contract for May delivery gained nearly a penny, or 0.1%, to settle at $4.26 per million British thermal units. The June heating oil contract shed a penny, or 0.6%, to settle at $2.24 a gallon, while June gasoline also lost a penny, or 0.6%, to settle at $2.35 a gallon.

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