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Oil rises above $84, breaking 5-day losing streak

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[April 20, 2010]  SINGAPORE (AP) -- Oil prices rose above $84 a barrel Wednesday in Asia, breaking a five-day slide, as rising global stock markets boosted crude investor optimism.

InsuranceBenchmark crude for May delivery was up 17 cents to $84.22 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped 29 cents to settle at $84.05 on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose to a fresh 18-month high Tuesday. And after Intel Corp. reported better-than-expected earnings late Tuesday, most Asian stock indices were higher Wednesday.

Oil traders often look to equities as a barometer of overall investor sentiment.

"This market does not yet appear poised to fully decouple from the financial markets," Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report. It said sustained lower oil prices "could remain elusive as long as the stock market continues claw its way up into new high territory."


A report saying U.S. gasoline supplies rose unexpectedly last week, which suggests demand remains weak, helped weigh on crude prices.

Gasoline inventories rose last week by 1.6 million barrels, the American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday. Analysts had expected a fall of 1.3 million barrels, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

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Inventories of crude and distillates also rose, the API said.

The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration is scheduled to announce its supply report later Wednesday.

In other Nymex trading in May contracts, heating oil was steady at $2.214 a gallon, and gasoline fell 0.59 cent to $2.303 a gallon. Natural gas fell 3.8 cents to $4.122 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude was down 3 cents at $84.69 on the ICE futures exchange.

[Associated Press; By ALEX KENNEDY]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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