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Oil prices fell on Friday as increasing stockpiles of Crude and oil products in the United States undercut the economic optimism that boosted equities markets. Front-month U.S.Crude futures fell 76 cents to settle at $70.04 a barrel, erasing gains from earlier. Crude prices have fallen in eight of the last nine trading days, and have plunged from a 2010 high near $90 a barrel in early May. U.S. Crude inventories rose in 15 of the 16 weeks through May 14, according to weekly data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. EIA data also shows stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for NYMEX crude futures, at record levels, while U.S. gasoline stocks are nearly 9 percent higher than year-ago levels. The bearish fundamentals in oil markets helped push Crude prices lower even as economic optimism helped to boost U.S. equities, with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 indices rising more than 1 percent. U.S. NYMEX crude for July delivery fell most sharply, with European Brent crude dipping 36 cents to $71.34. Front-month NYMEX futures have been hit hard by record inventories at the landlocked Cushing delivery point. Cushing stocks rose by 500,000 barrels in the week through May 18 to a record 39.46 million barrels, data from industry tracker Genscape showed on Thursday. U.S Crude has dropped sharply this month on waning confidence in global markets due to the crisis in the euro zone triggered by Greece's debt problems.
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