Investing.com – Nymex crude oil prices were mixed between small gains and losses during Asian trade on Wednesday after a sustained decline overnight as the markets anticipated that a sluggish U.S. economy will demand less fuel and energy, while warmer weather forecasts too pushed prices lower.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in April traded at $102.05 a barrel during Asian trading, up 0.05%.
On Tuesday the New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of $101.95 a barrel and a high of $102.09 a barrel and settled at $101.99 a barrel.
Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $99.41 a barrel, the low from Feb. 14, and resistance at $103.45 a barrel, Monday''s high.
Oil prices slid after the Conference Board reported that its consumer confidence index slipped to 78.1 in February from 79.4 in January, mainly due to concerns over general business conditions, jobs, and earnings.
Analysts were expecting the index to tick up to 80.0.
The present situation index rose to its highest level in almost six years, but the expectations index declined, indicating that while consumers believe the economy has improved they do not foresee further considerable improvement in the coming months.
Giving oil some support were expectations the Federal Reserve will very gradually taper its $65 billion monthly bond-buying program, which weakens the dollar by suppressing long-term borrowing costs to spur recovery.
A weaker greenback makes oil an attractive commodity on dollar-denominated exchanges.
Also cushioning losses, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller house price index rose 13.4% in December from a year earlier, the best December reading in eight years and slightly ahead of forecasts for a 13.3% gain.
Elsewhere, forecasts for warmer weather across the eastern U.S. in early March edged prices lower.
A powerful blast of cold air will shoot across the northern U.S. states this week, through in the first and second week of March, warmer temperatures may return.
Temperatures could even climb higher than once expected around March 7, according to updated weather-forecasting models, which could cut into demand for heating oil.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for April delivery wereup 0.09% and trading at US$109.62 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at US$7.57 a barrel.