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Oil Prices Mixed

June 21, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ Oil prices finished mixed after a rush of late buying in gasoline futures stalled an early selloff Tuesday.

Contracts for July delivery of crude oil, which were due to expire, came under immediate pressure and dragged down the rest of market, observers said.

But prices recovered late in the day as contracts for wholesale unleaded gasoline made strong gains.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, the July contract for West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark U.S. crude, settled 11 cents lower at $15.89 per 42-gallon barrel. Contracts for delivery in later months were generally higher.

Among refined products, July gasoline contracts rose 0.52 cent to 49.99 cents a gallon, while home heating oil gained 0.10 cent to 43.28 cents a gallon.

Analysts said the fundamental tone of the market remained bearish following the lack of new initiatives to limit production by members of the 13-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The buying in gasoline was sparked by traders staking positions in advance of the release of new supply figures. Traders believe demand will be high and supplies tight for gasoline during the summer driving season, analysts said.

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