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Oil Prices in 'Blow Off' Top, but Still Likely to Move Higher

Thursday's violent swings in oil prices put in a "blow off" top for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude, and the market is in a neutral zone with a bias to the upside, said oil analyst Mike Fitzpatrick.

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Fitzpatrick, editor of Energy Overview newsletter, expects oil to rise next week, and says the first level of resistance will be $99.59 per barrel.

"You've got all the weak longs out of the market so the positions are now in stronger hands," he said. A "blow off" top comes after a sharp spike higher gives way to an almost immediate sell off, which is usually on heavy volume.

Oil was barely changed Friday from Thursday's closing level. It finished at $97.88 per barrel, up $0.60. But the price moved above $98 after Friday's close when the U.S. said it was planning sanctions against Libya and was closing its embassy operations.

Oil soared to $103.41 early Thursday, just beneath an important technical level of $103.69 per barrel. That is the 61.8 percent retracement level between oil's all time high of $147.27 and its 2009 low of $33.20.

Oil moved lower during the day Thursday and saw a violent $2 drop at the end of the day.

"From $88 up to $103, there are longs and short positions scattered all over the place, as a remnant of what happened in the last couple of sessions," he said.

"We've got the market back in the neutral zone where you have a precarious equal librium between $95 an $100 ... They need an additional cue before we can make a trend out of this," he said.

But Fitzpatrick sees the next move as a move higher, and the technical pivot point Monday will be $97.75.

"Additionally, the market was over the 10-, 40- and 200-day moving averages and that's an automatic buy signal," he said.

Questions? Comments? Email us at marketinsider@cnbc.com

  • Patti Domm

    Patti Domm is CNBC Executive Editor, News, responsible for news coverage of the markets and economy.

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