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SEC Charge Against Goldman has Volcanic Impact on Energy Markets

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Oil Market Summary for 04/12/2010 to 04/16/2010

Oil prices plunged on Friday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Goldman Sachs with fraud in its marketing of certain subprime mortgage securities, amid a general sell-off in financial and commodity markets.

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The allegations against one of the biggest market makers in virtually every markets dampened speculation heading into the weekend. Much like the volcanic eruption in Iceland spewed a cloud of dust over northern Europe that grounded all air travel, the SEC charge cast a pall over financial markets.

The May contract for West Texas Intermediate, which expires next week, settled down $2.27 or 2.7% at $83.24 after briefly dipping below $83 in the wake of the SEC announcement. The benchmark contract settled at $84.92 a week earlier.

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Goldman Sachs had no immediate comment. Prices had been drifting lower in equities and other markets prior to the announcement, but fell sharply afterwards, led by a plunge of more than 10% in Goldman shares.

Some analysts speculated that prices could rebound on Monday once the dust has settled, but market participants remained uncertain about the long-term impact of the SEC charge on Goldman's business and on that of other major banks.

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I have an interest in the financial markets, commodities and Geopolitics.
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