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US oil ends higher on Cushing delivery speculation

Tuesday, 4 Feb 2014 | 2:38 PM ET
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U.S. crude oil rose by nearly $1 per barrel on Tuesday, reversing the previous session's losses, as traders expected data to show oil inventories were beginning to drain in earnest from the benchmark's delivery point at Cushing, Oklahoma, after the start-up of TransCanada's Keystone south pipeline.

Gains were capped later in the afternoon as traders took some profit. The double whammy of poor factory data in China and the United State, the world's two largest oil consumers, continued to weigh on the market.

U.S. crude was up 76 cents to settle at $97.19, bouncing after their largest daily percentage loss in nearly a month on Monday as they tumbled with U.S. equities. The contract traded at a session high of $97.71 earlier in the day. March Brent crude was mired near two week lows under $106 a barrel, in a third straight session of losses.

Crude may have also drawn some support from continued cold, stormy weather that drove U.S. natural gas futures prices up 5 percent on Tuesday. A stronger U.S. equities market also provided support.

Oil stocks at Cushing were expected to have dropped by more than 1 million barrels for the first time in five months, Data released later on Tuesday will show how much oil has drained from the storage hub. Traders have anticipated declining stocks at Cushing, indicating demand for that oil, since the southern leg of TransCanada's Keystone pipeline went into service late last month.

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