Commodity Corner: WTI Falls Below $77

Taking the lead from equities markets, oil futures settled lower Monday.

Light sweet crude oil for November delivery fell to $76.85 a barrel before ending the day at $77.61, which translates into a two percent loss from Friday. The front-month Brent contract lost one percent to settle at $101.71 a barrel. The WTI peaked at $79.64 while the Brent fluctuated from $100.78 to $102.75.

A Greek government announcement over the weekend that its 2011 budget deficit would likely be higher than the 7.6 percent that international lenders had called for renewed ongoing euro-zone debt fears. The news suggested that Greece may not be implementing austerity measures as aggressively as necessary, and major averages took notice. In New York, Dow Jones Industrials lost 2.36 percent. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq lost 2.85 percent and 3.29 percent, respectively.

Failing to prop up crude oil was a report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showing that U.S. manufacturing expanded for the 26th consecutive month in September. The ISM's purchasing managers index (PMI) registered at 51.6 percent, beating expectations. The August PMI was 50.6 percent, which was lower than the figure for the previous month.

Natural gas for November delivery lost 1.4 percent, settling at $3.62 per thousand cubic feet. The November contract traded within a range from $3.61 to $3.70.

November gasoline lost 4.4 percent to end the day at $2.51 a gallon. Gasoline peaked at $2.54 and bottomed out at $2.49 during Monday's trading.