Commodity Corner: Crude Oil Settles Higher Monday

The front-month crude oil contract settled higher at $76.54 a barrel Monday, a day before the August contract expires.

The 53-cent gain Monday paralleled positive movement on the equities markets, which were buoyed by optimism about earnings from companies such as Halliburton and IBM. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 indexes closed up 0.56% and 0.6%, respectively, Monday. Crude oil traded from $75.50 to $77.69 during the first session of the week.

Trading was more static for natural gas, however. The natural gas contract price for August delivery settled a penny lower at $4.51; it fluctuated from $4.45 to $4.56.

Gasoline futures also showed little momentum Monday, settling one cent higher at $2.06. The August contract price ranged from $2.03 to $2.10 during the day's trading.