Oil prices fall on fresh worries about economy
The price of oil fell 2.2 percent Friday after disappointing U.S. corporate earnings and a drop in existing home sales sparked worries again about the global economy.
Benchmark oil fell $2.05 to finish at $90.05 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, dropped $2.28, or 2 percent, to end at $110.14 per barrel in London.
Several companies delivered weaker-than-expected third-quarter results, including Microsoft and McDonald's. In addition, the National Association of Realtors said sales of previously occupied homes fell 1.7 percent in September from August in part because of fewer houses on the market.
Oil traders also worry about Europe's efforts to resolve its debt crisis and China's slower growth.
"It doesn't look as if there's a clear-cut signal whether we are going to have a significant downturn in the global economic activity which is going to translate into lower demands for energy," Tradition Energy oil analyst Gene McGillian said.
Meanwhile, TransCanada said it will restart a pipeline this weekend that carries crude from Canada to the Midwest. The 2,100-mile Keystone pipeline was shut down Wednesday after tests showed possible safety issues.
Oil traders largely consider the temporary closure to be a non-issue because U.S. crude supplies are plentiful. Analysts don't expect any impact on national retail gasoline prices.
At the pump, retail gas prices fell 2 cents overnight to $3.715 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. That's nearly 10 cents less than a week ago but 24 cents more than last year at this time.
In other energy trading in New York:
— Heating oil fell 5 cents to finish at $3.13 per gallon.
— Wholesale gasoline fell 5 cents to finish at $2.70 per gallon.
— Natural gas rose 3 cents to finish at $3.62 per 1,000 cubic feet.