For the rest of 2005, the stock market will be a battleground between hopes for lower oil prices and fears of higher interest rates. If oil prices fall, stocks -- in at least a few select sectors -- are likely to jump.But that won't happen until the markets are through worrying about what Alan Greenspan & Co. will do and say about interest rates on Nov. 1. If the Fed signals that it is more worried about inflation -- and inclined to raise interest rates more aggressively in response -- I think we could see a decline that takes the major indices down 5% to 10%. That kind of a selloff would be the signal to buy in anticipation of a typical end-of-the-year rally. The price of crude oil looks like it has hit a temporary top. When the price for a barrel of crude (light, sweet crude for December delivery, to be exact) dropped below $63 last week, it broke the short-term uptrend for oil prices, according to Philip Erlanger, editor of the Erlanger Squeeze Play newsletter. Now that oil has fallen through technical support at $63 -- it traded below $61 on Monday -- it could well drop back to $55 a barrel. The price of oil futures is also signaling a moderation in price increases. Back in mid-June, oil for September delivery was at $58.20 a barrel, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. At that time, the market clearly expected oil prices to rise and rise fast. A contract for December delivery was priced at $60.02 a barrel, almost $2 more. That spread has narrowed in recent weeks, to 74 cents on Oct. 4. The energy market thinks oil prices will continue to rise, but much less rapidly. If you look even further out, the commodity market is forecasting flat crude oil prices in the second half of 2006, according to Bernstein Research.