| GEO Business|
| Oil prices down in Asian trade|
| Updated at: 0733 PST, Thursday, July 15, 2010|
SINGAPORE: Oil prices sank in Asian trade on Thursday as traders took profit from Wednesday's rally spurred by a better-than-expected fall in US crude stockpiles, analysts said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, dropped 14 cents to 76.90 dollars a barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for August delivery slid 53 cents to 76.24 dollars on its last trading day.
Traders were selling off crude after prices rose following the US Department of Energy's report released late Wednesday stating that crude stockpiles in the world's largest energy consumer fell more sharply than expected.
I think there's probably just a bit of profit-taking," said Jason Feer, Asia Pacific vice-president of Argus Media energy analysts in Singapore.
Crude markets staged a mini-rally on Wednesday after the DoE said US crude stockpiles slumped 5.1 million barrels last week. Analyst forecasts had been for a drop of only 1.2 million, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
Meanwhile, strong US company results have sparked hope of rising energy demand in the world's biggest economy.
"It seems that the strong corporate earnings results from Alcoa and Intel boosted investor sentiment... showing encouraging signs for the US economic recovery," noted analysts at the Sucden brokerage in London.
"Investors are looking for a more optimistic tone in the US corporate earnings in the second quarter that could increase global oil demand in the second half of 2010."