Oil stocks fall as crude prices sink

NEW YORK -- Shares of the biggest oil companies dropped Tuesday as crude oil tumbled to a 3-month low on fear of slower economic growth.

Benchmark oil was down $2.46, or 2.8 percent, to $86.19 in morning trading in New York _ and down about 6 percent since last Thursday. In London, Brent crude was off $1.63, or 1.5 percent, to $107.81.

Weak or cautious forecasts this week from major manufacturers including 3M Co., Korean steel maker Posco and heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar contributed to concern about global economic growth.

Slower growth would mean less demand for gasoline and other forms of energy, and that fear sent oil stocks lower.

In midday trading, Chevron had the biggest drop of the major U.S. oil companies. Shares fell $3.36, or 3 percent, to $109.38. They hit an all-time high of $118.53 earlier this month. Exxon Mobil Corp. fell $1.94, or 2.1 percent, to $90.25; and ConocoPhillips fell $1.12, or 2 percent, at $55.92;

Among the European majors that trade in the U.S., Royal Dutch Shell shares fell $1.86, or 2.7 percent, to $67.21; BP PLC dropped $1.07, or 2.5 percent, to $41.57; and Total SA lost $1.51, or 2.9 percent, to $50.10.