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OIL TRADING SLIDES TO A STOP

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The oil market ended the week in a boring, shortened day of trading Friday, technically poised for further declines after prices failed during the week to bounce back as much as traders expected.

The New York Mercantile Exchange, which starts crude trading at 9:45 a.m. EST, stopped at 11:20 a.m. EST Friday after communications problems prevented the transmission and display of prices. Closing prices were arrived at during a five-minute trading period ending 2:00 p.m. EST.The benchmark West Texas Intermediate for June delivery edged up 7 cents to $18.54, down 28 cents on the week.

On the U.S. Gulf Coast cash market, prompt-delivery WTI was unchanged at $18.50 a barrel but finished up 55 cents on the week.