Oil prices advance as market focuses on US results

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World oil prices rebounded Monday on bargain-hunting after recent falls, in line with slender gains on the New York stock market as traders followed the latest US company results.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, rose 46 cents to 76.47 dollars a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for September gained 43 cents to 75.80 dollars in late afternoon London trade.

Wall Street stocks were slightly firmer in choppy trade on Monday amid renewed concerns the US recovery is stalling and as the company earnings season picks up steam.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.21 percent to 10,118.56 points by 1520 GMT, shedding some of its opening gains.

"Much of this week's action (on the oil market) will ride on what the US equity markets do, particularly as second-quarter corporate earnings kick into high gear," said MF Global analyst Ed Meir.

"It remains to be seen how the markets will treat upcoming earnings announcements and whether these will, in fact, trump the macro data that is scheduled to be released."

Later this week, besides the US corporate results, the markets will focus on Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's two-day Congressional testimony and the outcome of so-called "stress tests" on the health of European banks on Friday.

Results are due this week from major companies including Apple, Goldman Sachs and Yahoo!.

After US markets close later on Monday, computer giant IBM will publish its latest numbers.

In early trade, oil was in negative territory as sentiment was dampened by recent downbeat US data which has spurred concerns about slowing demand in the world's biggest energy consumer, analysts said.

Wall Street nose-dived on Friday after a much weaker-than-expected University of Michigan consumer sentiment index reading and lackluster second-quarter earnings.

The index dropped almost 10 points to 66.5 in July. A government report showed inflation remained tame as the fragile recovery curbs price rises.

© 2010 AFP

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