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Oil just did something it hasn’t done in more than 30 years (hint: it isn’t good)

(Source: marketwatch.com)

A jolt lower for oil since peaking in October has helped crude futures to carve out a bearish record. That is even after U.S. benchmark oil on Thursday fell into bear-market territory, defined as a drop of at least 20% from a recent peak.

West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange

CLZ8, -1.32%

settled lower on Friday, marking its 10th consecutive decline and matching the longest skid for the contract since a similar stretch from July 18-July 31 1984, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Bespoke Investment Group pegs the losing stretch as the longest skid since at least 1983 (see chart below), noting that “there has never been a streak of more than 9 straight days where crude oil traded down on the day.”

What’s behind the downturn?

Rising production and a softening in U.S. oil sanctions on Iran, that included waivers for big crude importers like China, which helped to contribute to a whipsaw lower for oil prices. Indeed, just five weeks ago, oil futures had put in their highest prices in years. Lingering concerns about the global economy and expectations for sluggish corporate earnings in the future also have added to the downbeat mood in the oil industry.

That atmosphere has lent itself to a downdraft in stocks, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.77%

the S&P 500 index

SPX, -0.92%

and the Nasdaq Composite Index

COMP, -1.65%

all trading lower Friday, and indexes in Europe, like the pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 Index

SXXP, -0.37%

and China’s Shanghai Composite Index

SHCOMP, -1.39%

also in the red.

Read: The oil rout just became a bear market for U.S. crude

Meanwhile, January Brent crude

LCOF9, -1.09%

 also was in decline and flirting with its own tumble into a bear market. Brent oil was down more than 19% from its recent October peak.

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More Info: marketwatch.com

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