Oil Near $40 As Investors Eye Gaza Conflict

VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Resurfacing concerns over the world economy have sent crude prices lower.

Those concerns are eclipsing fears that the conflict between Israel and Hamas could inflame tensions in the oil-rich Middle East.

Prices have blipped upward over the past few days because of the fighting. But with the conflict in its fourth day today, the market is refocused on the turmoil roiling economies internationally -- and the negative fallout for oil demand.

Light, sweet crude for February delivery fell 50 cents to $39.52 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by noon in Europe. The contract overnight rose $2.31 to settle at $40.02.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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