Commodity Corner: Crude Slides on Consumer Pessimism, Weak Stocks

The August crude oil futures contract slid again in today's trading due to consumer pessimism and weak U.S. stocks. Crude futures settled at $76.01 per barrel, down 61 cents, after trading as high as $77.15 and as low as $75.43.

The contract initially traded up and down on the weaker dollar, but news that the University of Michigan/Reuters consumer index fell to 66.5 this month from 76 last month, a bigger drop than expected, helped push crude futures down.

Crude futures also continued tracking the U.S. equities market, which was lower today on reports of disappointing corporate earnings. Crude futures have traded between $70 and $80 recently, with little supply and demand news and reports directing moves.

Henry Hub natural gas futures trended down today, settling at $4.52 per thousand cubic feet after trading between $4.48 and $4.65. Expectations of hotter-than-normal weather around the U.S. over the next three weeks, which will boost air conditioning usage levels and, in turn, boost gas demand, remain tempered by the existing glut of U.S. gas supply.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported working natural gas in storage as of July 9 had increased to 2,840 Bcf. Working gas inventories are currently 33 Bcf below year-ago levels and 274 Bcf above the 5-year average level.

RBOB gasoline futures declined in trading today, settled at $2.05 after trading between $2.03 and $2.07.