NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Crude oil prices jumped to a one-year high of more than $75 a barrel Wednesday as U.S. equity markets surged while the U.S. dollar slide continued.

Light, sweet crude for November delivery settled $1.03, or 1.4%, higher at $75.18 a barrel, on the New York Mercantile Exchange after hitting an intraday peak of $75.40/bbl. This was the first time crude has settled above $75 a barrel since Oct. 14, 2008. Crude ended modestly above the upper end of the $65-$75 a barrel trading range that it has held since mid-July.

Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange settled 70 cents, or 1%, higher at $73.10 a barrel.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke through the psychologically important level of 10,000 for the first time in a year, helping to support oil prices that have been monitoring the stock markets progress for signs of economic recovery that would bolster oil consumption.

Oil has been tracking stocks "and using them as an indicator for petroleum demand," said Tim Evans, analyst at Citi Futures Perspectives in New York.

Stocks were encouraged by positive third-quarter corporate earnings from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) coupled with the release early Wednesday of U.S. September retail sales figures that fell by less than analysts had expected, dropping 1.5%, compared with forecasts for a 2.1% fall.

The U.S. Dollar Index plunged to a new 14-month low early Wednesday against a group of international currencies, which motivated gains in oil as the greenback's fall makes the price of oil cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Investors have been shifting away from the safe haven of the dollar and into more riskier assets, such as oil and commodities.

"We are certainly supported by a weaker U.S. dollar and stronger equities but we are in a holding pattern waiting to see what the inventory data for last week will bring," said Evans.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is scheduled to release its weekly inventory figures at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) Thursday, a day late due to Monday's Columbus Day holiday.

Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires forecast that for the week ending Oct. 9 crude oil inventories will have risen 600,000 barrels, gasoline by 700,000 barrels, while distillate stocks - which includes diesel and heating oil - will have dropped by 100,000 barrels.

The estimates reflect seasonal patterns with expectations that colder temperatures will start to trim heating oil inventories - which remain at their highest level since January 1983 - while current refinery maintenance work will lead to a build in crude oil stocks.

Front-month November reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, settled 2.6 cents, or 1.4%, higher at $1.8575 cents a gallon, the highest price since Aug. 31. November heating oil settled 1.9 cents, or 1%, higher at $1.9427 a gallon, the highest price since Aug. 5.


More information on settlements and highs and lows for futures on Nymex and ICE platforms can be found by searching for the following headlines:

Nymex Light Crude Oil Close
Nymex Harbor RBOB Gasoline Close
Nymex Heating Oil Close
ICE Brent Crude Oil Close
ICE Gas Oil Close

-By Claire Rangel, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2846; claire.rangel@dowjones.com