U.S. crude oil futures pared losses in late trade to settle marginally higher Tuesday, as the dollar turned lower against a basket of major currencies following some weak economic data from the U.S. Investors continued to worry on the upcoming European Union summit meeting later this week, with little hopes of any resolution to the eurozone financial problems.
Light Sweet Crude Oil futures for August delivery, gained $0.15 or 0.2 percent to close at $79.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday.
Crude prices scaled a high of $79.68 a barrel intraday and a low of $78.36.
Yesterday, oil ended lower on demand concerns and a strong dollar, with investors taking a skeptical view of the upcoming European Union summit meeting later in the week in an effort to resolve the eurozone debt problems.
The EU summit is now saddled with some more issues with Cyprus formally seeking financial aid on Monday, after Spain made a formal request to help its banking system earlier. As well late Monday, Moody's Investor Service downgraded the long-term debt and deposit ratings for 28 of the 33 rated Spanish banks and two issuer ratings, by one to four notches.
The upcoming EU summit hopes were further dented after some news reports of comments attributed to the German Chancellor Angela made rounds. Merkel is reported to have indicated her opposition to any shared total debt liability in Europe, while interacting with coalition partners in her government.
The dollar slipped after some soft economic data from the U.S. and weak response to Spanish bonds earlier today.
The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. unit against six major currencies, pared much of the gains to trade lower at 82.37 on Tuesday from 82.46 in North American trade late Tuesday. The dollar scaled a high of 82.68 intraday and a low of 82.25.
The euro pared early losses but continued to trade lower against the dollar at $1.2481 on Tuesday, as compared to $1.2501 late Monday in North America. The euro scaled a high of $1.2530 intraday and a low of 1.2442.
In economic news, home prices in major U.S. metropolitan areas rose more than economists expected, a report by Standard & Poor's revealed. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent in April, matching the upwardly revised increase in March. Economists expected home prices to rise by 0.4 percent compared to the 0.1 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.
A separate report from the Conference Board showed consumer confidence index to have dropped to 62.0 in June from a downwardly revised 64.4 in May. Economists expected the index to slip to 63.5 from the 64.9 originally reported for the previous month.
In economic news from the eurozone, confidence among German consumers is likely to rise in July, a survey by market research group GfK indicated. The consumer confidence index for July rose to 5.8 from 5.7 in June. Economists expected the score to fall to 5.6 in July.
by RTT Staff Writer
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