After an early-morning bounce Monday on optimism about a resolution to the European debt crisis, oil futures slipped back from their highs and were lower as trading got underway in New York.
At 9:20 a.m. EST, light, sweet crude futures for November delivery were down 40 cents, or 0.5%, to $79.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude futures on the ICE Futures Europe exchange were down 12 cents, or 0.1%, to $103.85 a barrel.
Despite the slight bounce, which followed U.S. equity futures, analysts hold a largely bearish view of oil for the near future, given enduring pessimism on the U.S. economy, indicators of slowing emerging market growth and continued uncertainty over the sovereign debt crisis. Many hold price targets for oil back in the $76 to $77 range--with warnings that it could go even lower, if the recent selloff in other markets continues.
"While we still assess a high degree of confidence to a further crude price decline," Ritterbusch and Associates said in a research note Monday, "we will also caution that any downside price acceleration in the equities (market) could render our downside targets as conservative. Key US stock indices are back to around recent lows and another strong bout of de-risking could easily trigger some fresh block type selling within the oil complex."
Stephen Schork, an analyst and editor of The Schork Report, said the market is reacting to the European news and stock market uptick, but that the longer-term picture portends a continued drop in oil prices.
"The tenor seems weak right now," Schork said. "Oil's been in a well-defined bear trend since putting in those highs in late winter, early spring. We certainly appear to be headed lower at this point. I think we could see oil in the mid-70s, even mid-60s, in the months ahead."
Front-month October reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, recently traded up 1.53 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $2.5700 a gallon. October heating oil was up 0.93 cent, or 0.3%, to $2.8051 a gallon.