Commodity Crude Oil : Crude Slides on Lackluster Data, Profit Taking

Crude prices fell on Friday after lackluster data sparked a round of profit taking, ending gains stemming from a winter storm plowing across the eastern seaboard that likely hiked demand for heating oil. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in March traded at USD100.16 a barrel during U.S. trading, down 0.19%. New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of USD99.45 a barrel and a high of USD100.46 a barrel.

The March contract settled down 0.02% at USD100.35 a barrel on Thursday. Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at USD99.41 a barrel, Thursday's low, and resistance at USD100.65 a barrel, Thursday's high. The preliminary Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index remained unchanged at 81.2 for February, beating expectations for a fall to 80.6. Elsewhere, the Federal Reserve reported earlier that U.S. industrial production fell 0.3% in January, defying expectations for a 0.3% rise after a 0.3% increase the previous month. Data also showed that U.S. import prices rose 0.1% last month, confounding expectations for a 0.1% down tick after a 0.2% rise in December. 

Profit taking sent prices falling as well, as investors priced in the likelihood a powerful winter storm that dumped snow across the eastern U.S. hiked demand for heating oil and later sold crude futures for profits. Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for April delivery were up 0.11% and trading at 108.64 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at 8.03 a barrel.

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