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Oil above $85 as stock markets regain footing

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[August 15, 2011]  SINGAPORE (AP) -- Oil prices hovered above $85 a barrel Monday in Asia as stock markets regained their footing after wild swings last week amid concerns about a slowing U.S. economy and worsening European debt crisis.

InsuranceBenchmark oil for September delivery was up 7 cents to $85.45 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude fell 34 cents to settle at $85.38 on Thursday.

In London, Brent crude for October delivery was up 12 cents to $107.88 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Crude has risen from below $76 last week after falling from $100 last month as investors try to anticipate how much economic growth may slow in the U.S. and Europe in the second half.

Oil was buoyed Monday by a jump in Asian stock markets. Traders often look to equities as a barometer of overall investor sentiment.

"The market has begun to price in a less apocalyptic macroeconomic scenario," Barclays Capital said in a report.

It expects Brent oil to rise to $130 a barrel over the next 12 months even with potentially slower economic recoveries in the developed countries.

Barclays said it left unchanged its forecast that Brent will average $110 in the third quarter of this year.

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Data released Friday about U.S. consumer demand was mixed. Retail sales rose 0.5 percent last month, the best showing since March. However, consumer sentiment hit a 31-year low in August, according to a Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's survey.

In other Nymex trading in September contracts, heating oil rose 1.6 cents to $2.92 a gallon and gasoline added 1.2 cents at $2.83 a gallon. Natural gas futures dropped 4.9 cents to $4.01 per 1,000 cubic feet.

[Associated Press; By ALEX KENNEDY]

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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