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Crude Oil Ends Higher On Global Cues, Weak Dollar

U.S. crude oil futures settled higher Tuesday, on global cues as concerns over the eurozone sovereign debt crisis ebbed while the dollar weakened against the euro and other major currencies. The dollar pushed down following some weak data on home prices and consumer confidence from the U.S.

The increase in prices were moderate as investors await the American Petroleum Institute weekly petroleum report later today and the Energy Information Administration data due Wednesday.

Most European markets rebounded Tuesday after some mixed economic data from the U.S., with the push coming from broad gains made by banks.

Light Sweet Crude Oil futures for June delivery, gained $0.44 or 0.4 percent to close at $103.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday.

Crude prices scaled a high of $104.10 a barrel intraday and a low of $102.79.

Crude oil ended lower yesterday, as investors weighed some significant developments in France and the Netherlands that once again rekindled concerns over the euro zone sovereign debt and oil demand. The dollar traded higher against the euro and other major currencies, with markets across Europe losing heavily following the political developments and weak economic data from China and Europe.

The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. unit against six major currencies, traded at 79.186 on Tuesday, down from 79.406 in North American trade late Monday. The dollar scaled a high of 79.43 intraday, with a low of 79.09.

The euro was trading higher against the dollar at $1.3201 on Tuesday, as compared to $1.3149 late Monday. The euro scaled a high of $1.3217 intraday with a low of $1.3146.

In economic news, a report by Standard & Poor's revealed home prices in major U.S. metropolitan areas increased modestly in February. The report showed the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index edged up by 0.2 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis. On an unadjusted basis, the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite dropped 0.8 percent when compared to January, with the year-on-year decline at 3.5 percent. S&P believes the unadjusted stats a more reliable indicator.

A report from the U.S. Commerce Department showed new sales of single-family houses came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 328,000. This marks a notable, 7.1 percent drop from the revised February rate of 353,000.

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index, a gauge of consumer confidence, dropped for a second month to 69.2 in April from a downwardly revised March reading of 69.5. Economists expected the index to slip to 69.7 from the 70.2 originally reported for the previous month.

From the eurozone, the U.K.'s public sector net borrowing rose from a year-ago level in March, according to the Office for National Statistics. Public sector net borrowing excluding temporary effects of financial interventions, was GBP 18.2 billion in March, up from last year's GBP 17.95 billion. This was also higher than GBP 12.2 billion borrowing in February and above economists' forecast of GBP 16 billion.

by RTT Staff Writer

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