* DuPont's earnings forecast, job cuts weigh on oil
* Brent tests support at 100-day moving average
* U.S. crude stocks likely rose last week - analyst poll
* Coming Up: EIA oil data 10:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday
(Adds API data paragraphs 18-21)
By Robert Gibbons
NEW YORK, Oct 23 Oil prices fell sharply on
Tuesday as slowing global economic growth, Europe's continuing
debt crisis and weak earnings forecasts from U.S. corporations
pressured commodities and equities.
Brent fell for a sixth straight session and U.S. crude was
down for a fourth consecutive day to settle at a three-month
Evidence of slowing economic growth and an improving crude
oil supply picture continued to counter any potential lift from
Middle East turmoil and Iran's dispute with Israel and the West
over Tehran's nuclear program.
Chemical company DuPont lowered its earnings
forecast, announced 1,500 job cuts and posted
lower-than-expected profit, pressuring equities, oil and other
The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a gauge
widely followed by commodity investors, fell 1.2 percent.
DuPont's gloomy outlook came a day after heavy machinery
maker Caterpillar Inc warned that the U.S. economy was
slowing faster than expected.
Rising Spanish borrowing costs and slumping business morale
in France's manufacturing sector added to concerns about
Europe's debt crisis and sputtering economic growth.
"The main bearish driver is the state of the economy," said
Filip Petersson, an analyst at SEB in Stockholm. "And that's
taken all markets down quite a bit."
TransCanada Corp's Monday restart of its Keystone
pipeline carrying crude oil from Canada to the United States
added pressure on oil futures.
Brent December crude fell $1.19 to settle at $108.25
a barrel, its lowest settlement since Oct. 3. It slumped to
$107.31, its lowest level since Sept. 20 and below the 100-day
moving average of $107.42.
U.S. December crude fell $1.98 to settle at $86.67 a
barrel, its lowest settlement since July 12. Tuesday's low trade
Tuesday's move lower left U.S. crude poised "for a test on
the 61.8 percent retracement of the $77.28 to $100.42 move at
$86.12, and possibly below," Michael Fitzpatrick,
editor-in-chief, wrote in the industry newsletter
REFINED PRODUCTS FUTURES
U.S. refined products futures extended multiday slides, with
front-month RBOB gasoline futures off for a ninth
straight session. They fell 4.25 cents to settle at $2.6050 a
gallon, off 35.43 cents from its $2.9593 settlement on Oct. 10.
Front-month heating oil traded lower for the
eighth straight session, dropping 3.33 cents to settle at
$3.0434 a gallon, down 21.37 cents from Oct. 11 when it closed
at $3.2571 a gallon.
Falling distillate inventories, especially in the U.S.
Northeast, the country's biggest heating oil market, had stirred
concerns about a potential fuel shortfall as winter approached.
But analysts said tepid demand for refined products and
healthy crude oil inventories were weighing on gasoline and
"I think the judgment of the market is that, while
(distillate) inventories are still low, they are likely to
rise," said Tim Evans, energy analyst for Citi Futures
Perspective in New York.
U.S. OIL INVENTORIES
U.S. crude oil stocks rose 313,000 barrels last week, the
American Petroleum Institute (API) said in a report late on
Tuesday, a smaller build than expected.
Gasoline stocks rose 181,000 barrels and distillate
stockpiles fell 890,000 barrels, the API said.
Crude stockpiles were expected to have risen 1.9 million
barrels in the week to Oct. 19, according to analysts polled by
Gasoline stocks were expected to be up 700,000 barrels, with
distillate stocks seen down 900,000 barrels.
The government's report from U.S. Energy Information
Administration (EIA) will follow on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EDT
The slide in crude prices on Tuesday came even as the
potential remains for Middle East turmoil to disrupt the
region's oil supply.
Iran said on Tuesday it would stop oil exports if pressure
from Western sanctions got any tighter and that it had a "Plan
B" contingency strategy to survive without oil revenues.
Major powers may ask Iran for stricter limits on its nuclear
work if it wants an easing of harsh sanctions - a long-shot
approach aimed at yielding a negotiated solution, according to
Syrian rebels were attempting to seize an army base close to
the main north-south highway, hoping to create a "safe zone"
allowing them to focus on President Bashar al-Assad's southern
(Additional reporting by Matthew Robinson in New York, Peg
Mackey in London and Manash Goswami in Singapore; Editing by
Marguerita Choy, Alden Bentley, John Wallace and Jim Marshall)