Tuesday, February 05 09:52:38
Oil prices fell today as energy prices took their cues from sinking stock markets in Europe, Asia and Wall Street. Benchmark oil for March delivery fell nine cents to $96.08 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped by $1.60 to finish at $96.17 a barrel on the Nymex last night.
Brent crude, the benchmark used to set prices for oil used by many US refineries, fell 46 cents to $115.14 in London. Oil prices had risen steadily since they traded near $86 a barrel in mid-December on hopes for an improving global economy. But US stock indexes had big declines yesterday amid concerns about political stability in Italy and Spain.
An Italian general election at the end of this month looks like it may not be as clear-cut as many people thought. Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy denied allegations over the weekend that he and his party received secret cash payments from businesses. Opposition parties are calling for Rajoy to resign. Benchmark stock indexes in both countries endured their steepest drops in months yesterday. ( C) Reuters