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Oil prices rise above $76 per barrel

SINGAPORE — Oil prices rose above $76 a barrel today in Asia, clawing back some of this week’s losses as stock markets rebounded.

Benchmark crude for September delivery was up 46 cents at $76.20 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.28 to settle at $75.74 yesterday.

Oil has dropped from above $81 a barrel earlier this week amid resurgent investor fears that the global economy may not grow in the second half as much as previously expected.

Most Asian and European stock markets rose, breaking a weeklong slump, after the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.6 percent yesterday.

The Labor Department yesterday said last week’s applications for jobless benefits reached the highest level in almost six months. In addition, stocks fell on disappointing earnings from Cicso Systems Inc., Sara Lee Corp. and retailer Kohl’s Corp.

“The ghosts of a global economic slowdown are back and haunting the oil market again,” Barclays Capital said in a report. “No doubt, like China, the growth in U.S. oil demand is likely to slow down as the months progress.”

In other Nymex trading in September contracts, heating oil rose 1.47 cents to $2.0162 a gallon, gasoline added 1.52 cents to $1.9700 a gallon and natural gas gained 2.4 cents to $4.320 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Brent crude was up 50 cents at $76.02 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange.

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