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Oil rises to near $85 on stock market, euro rally
Oil rises to near $85 in Asia as global stock markets, euro gain
By The Associated Press

SINGAPORE (AP) ' Oil rose to near $85 a barrel Friday in Asia, boosted by a global stock market rally and a stronger euro.

Benchmark oil for July delivery was up 69 cents to $84.60 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.29 to settle at $83.91 in New York on Thursday.

In London, Brent crude for August delivery was up 78 cents at $97.95 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Oil traders often look to stock markets as a barometer of overall investor sentiment. The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 1.2 percent Thursday amid speculation central banks may announce stimulus measures to help boost flagging global economic growth. Most Asian stock markets gained Friday.

Crude also gained because of a strengthening euro, which rose to $1.2638 from $1.2600 late Thursday in New York. A weaker U.S. dollar makes commodities sold in dollars such as oil cheaper for investors with other currencies.

A turning point for the world economy and financial markets may come from elections in Greece this weekend which could determine if the country stays in the euro common currency. A sudden exit from the euro by Greece could spark panic and spread a financial crisis that undermines economic growth.

"Even allowing for a supportive outcome to Sunday's Greek elections, intractable debt problems in other countries such as Spain and Italy will still need to be addressed," energy traders and consultant Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report.

On Thursday, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said at a quarterly meeting in Vienna that the group would leave its crude production quotas unchanged. The cartel suggested it is ready to cut supplies quickly if crude demand slows sharply.

In other energy trading, heating oil was up 1.8 cent at $2.65 per gallon while gasoline futures rose 2.6 cents at $2.62 per gallon. Natural gas gained 1.9 cents at $2.51 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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