Oil Prices Bounce Back

Crude is up $1.21 to $65.97 a barrel.
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Oil prices were buoyant Monday on word that Saudi Arabia's petroleum shipments to Asia in July will be roughly 10% less than its contracted quota.

That helped lift July light sweet crude $1.21 to $65.97 a barrel late in New York Mercantile Exchange trading. Reformulated gasoline gained 2 cents to $2.15 a gallon, and heating oil rose 3 cents at $1.93 a gallon.

Natural gas slipped 6 cents to $7.61 per million British thermal units.

Crude fell more than 3% in Friday's trading session. According to Edward Meir, an analyst at Man Financial, the news from Saudi Arabia provided an impetus for crude to bounce off of the last session's lows.

Also affecting markets were antagonistic statements made by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I., Conn.) against Iran on Sunday. Lieberman said in a televised interview that the U.S. must consider attacking Iran if the country continues to interfere with American forces in Iraq. The rhetoric lifted the Iranian dilemma on to energy traders' radar screens yet again.

With a recent technical downtrend in crude prices and no major news expected anytime soon, traders are expecting crude, gasoline and heating oil futures to feel negative pressure this week, says Meir.

Meanwhile, energy stocks were mixed. The

CBOE Oil Index

weakened 0.3% to 746.09.


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Exxon Mobil

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were fractionally higher.