Brent little changed, U.S. crude posts gain

Tue Jun 5, 2012 5:20pm EDT
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By Robert Gibbons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Brent crude prices dipped a penny in choppy trade on Tuesday, while U.S. crude rose for a second day as supportive U.S. data countered pressure from another batch of weak euro zone figures that reinforced concerns about future demand for petroleum.

Price consolidation should be expected, analysts and traders said, after Brent crude dropped below $100 a barrel on Friday for the first time since October. It has retreated from a 2012 peak above $128 a barrel in March.

They also noted that price drops during the session did not threaten multimonth lows posted on Monday.

"It has come off a long way, maybe now it's time to consolidate," said Tony Machacek, oil futures broker at Jefferies Bache.

Crude futures and equities prices received a lift from an industry report showing growth in the U.S. services sector picked up slightly in May.

Brent July crude dipped 1 cent to settle at $98.84 a barrel. The session low of $97.68 was nowhere near Monday's 16-month low of $95.63.

U.S. July crude edged up 31 cents to settle at $84.29, falling only to $83.31 intraday, well above Monday's $81.21 low.

Total Brent crude trading volume lagged U.S. crude turnover, with Britain's celebration of Queen Elizabeth's 60 years on the throne thinning trade. Both Brent and U.S. dealings trailed their 30-day averages.   Continued...

A worker is silhouetted as he walks past fuel storage tanks at an oil refinery in Melbourne June 21, 2010. REUTERS/Mick Tsikas