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Oil falls to near $81 as stock market rally wanes

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[October 12, 2010]  SINGAPORE (AP) -- Oil prices fell to near $81 a barrel Tuesday in Asia as a global stock market rally stalled ahead of key corporate earnings results.

Benchmark oil for November delivery was down 77 cents to $81.44 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 45 cents to settle at $82.21 on Monday.

Oil broke out of a yearlong trading range in the $70s last month fueled by a jump in equities and a falling U.S. dollar, but it's struggling to hold above $80. Most Asia stock indexes dropped Tuesday after a flat session on Wall Street. The euro fell to $1.3808 from $1.3862 on Monday.

"With equities staying flat, oil has lost its fizzle," Sander Capital Advisors said. "The price of oil could easily fall back below $80 a barrel."

Investors will be watching closely for clues about the strength of the U.S. economy in results this week from Intel Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and General Electric Co. as quarterly earnings season heats up.

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In other Nymex trading in November contracts, heating oil fell 0.15 cent to $2.226 a gallon and gasoline dropped 1.53 cents to $2.150 a gallon. Natural gas was steady at $3.591 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude slid 88 cents to $82.85 a barrel 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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