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Oil hovers below $77 as US equities, economy mixed

Oil hovers below $77 as US equities, economy mixed

Oil prices hovered below $77 a barrel Friday in Asia as traders eyed steady stock markets amid a sluggish U.S. economic recovery.
Benchmark crude for August delivery was down 3 cents to $76.59 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 42 cents to settle at $76.62 on Thursday.
Oil has traded around $77 this week as mixed signals from second-quarter U.S. corporate earnings reports and economic indicators suggest an uneven recovery. The Dow Jones industrial average was little changed Thursday, rising 0.07 percent, and Asian stock markets were mixed Friday.
Crude traders often look to stock markets as a barometer of overall investor sentiment.
"Oil remains attached to equities for now and as a result, economic guidance should continue to rule," Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report.
Global oil consumption gains this year have been led by developing countries, especially China, the world's third-largest economy. China said Thursday its gross domestic product expanded by 10.3 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, down from 11.9 percent growth in the first quarter.
"Chinese oil demand continues to scale new highs," Barclays Capital said in a report. "China remains the single largest contributor to global oil demand growth this year."
"Market fears of an imminent Chinese slowdown may be a bit overblown."
In other Nymex trading in August contracts, heating oil fell 0.33 cent to $2.0216 a gallon, gasoline dropped 0.22 cent to $2.0629 a gallon and natural gas was steady at $4.591 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Brent crude was down 4 cents to $76.05 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange.


Updated : 2021-02-27 14:40 GMT+08:00