Crude down, hits biggest 3-wk loss since Aug '11

Fri May 18, 2012 6:15pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Crude oil futures fell more than 1 percent on Friday, down for the sixth straight session, as worsening problems in Greece and Spain raised worries of contagion in the euro zone.

Oil futures fell on the drumbeat from global stock markets, which erased the year's gains as investors pared holdings for safe-haven assets such as gold, on growing concerns about the euro zone debt crisis.

On Wall Street, equities dipped after a messy opening-day trade for social networking darling Facebook (FB.O: Quote) failed to lift the spirits of investors. .N

U.S. gasoline futures bucked the day's trend in energy markets, gaining slightly after six days of losses and climbing above its 200-day moving average after falling below that level on Thursday for the first time since February.

Oil investors were cautious ahead of the G8 summit this weekend where U.S. President Barack Obama was reported by Japanese news agency Kyodo to be seeking support for tapping the release of emergency oil reserves ahead of the European Union's July embargo of Iranian crude.

Obama will host the G8 meeting at Camp David in Maryland.

Reversal of the Seaway pipeline was completed earlier this week and its first crude oil headed for Houston from Cushing, Oklahoma, is expected to flow by the weekend, according to owners Enterprise Products (EPD.N: Quote) and Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO: Quote).

Anticipation of the landmark move, which was expected to help ease the glut in Midwest crude stockpiles, had reduced Brent's spread against U.S. crude in recent days, but on Friday, the spread widened, amid caution from analysts that impact of the reversal could be slow to hit the U.S. oil markets.

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Gasoline drips off a nozzle during refueling at a gas station in Altadena, California March 24, 2012. Picture taken March 24, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni