Oil inches up in choppy trading

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil prices inched up slightly in choppy trading Monday, as traders looked to the volatile stock market for cues.

What prices are doing: Crude for July delivery, which became the active, front-month trading contract Friday, rose 17 cents, or 0.24%, to settle at $70.21 a barrel.

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Click the chart for the current price of oil and other commodities.

Gasoline prices fell for the 18th consecutive day, slipping to $2.793 a gallon from $2.801 the day before, according to a survey by motorist group AAA.

What's moving the market: U.S. stocks teetered between posting losses and gains Monday, as investors mulled over a better-than-expected rise in existing home sales, but couldn't let go of concerns about the European debt crisis. Oil prices tagged along for the choppy ride.

The euro and the pound both weakened against the dollar, subduing any gains in oil prices because a stronger dollar makes oil, which is traded in the U.S. currency, more expensive for foreign investors.

U.S. financial markets have been volatile for the past month, amid concerns about economic instability in Europe. Oil traders have been worried that the region's debt crisis may cut demand for fuel.

What analysts are saying: Investors are taking risk off the table due to the stock market's volatility, and putting their money into other commodities like precious metals, which are deemed "safe-haven," or lower risk investments, said Phil Streible, senior market strategist with futures broker Lind-Waldock.

Platinum and silver both rose more than 2% and gold posted 1.6% gains in global electronic trading Monday. To top of page

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