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Stocks and markets in the News | Oil Futures: Oil Closes at $88 a barrel, lowest close since October.

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By Myra P. Saefong and V. Phani Kumar , MarketWatch  SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Crude-oil futures dropped Wednesday to mark their lowest close since October as the U.S. dollar strengthened and as concerns over Spain and scaled-back expectations for Chinese economic stimulus dulled the prospects for oil demand. “It’s a continuation of the justified concerns about the dire state of the health of the European economy, which when coupled with outlooks such as my own that markets were relatively well supplied, eventually had to filter through into lower prices,” said Matthew Parry, a senior oil-market analyst at the International Energy Agency. The July contract for light, sweet crude-oil futures CLN2 -3.65%  fell $2.94, or 3.2%, to settle at $87.82 a barrel on

Stocks and Markets in the News | Oil Futures: Oil ends above $99 at highest since late July: Market Pulse - MarketWatch

By Myra P. Saefong SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Crude-oil futures closed higher Tuesday, at a more than three-month high above $99 a barrel as better-than-expected U.S. economic data raised demand prospects. Oil for December delivery CL1Z +1.42% tacked on $1.23, or 1.3%, to settle at $99.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the highest closing level for a most-active contract since July 26, though oil continues to see resistance near the $100 level, according to analysts. "Demand concerns are always an issue -- that's par for the course," said Seth Rabinowitz, a partner at management consulting firm Silicon Associates. "What's not par for the course are [debt] defaults. Once traders are calmed regarding stability concerns, oil will be above $100 again."