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Oil prices rebound, US data in focus

Oct 24 2012 07:47 AFP

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Singapore - Oil prices rebounded in Asia on Wednesday after slumping in New York, with traders hopeful that US data due out later in the day would provide respite from weak corporate results, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December added 77 cents to $87.44 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for December delivery gained 70 cents to $108.95.

Dealers are looking ahead to the release of housing start data in the United States, as corporate America continues to show weakness, with some of the world's biggest firms posting poor third-quarter results.

"The US will finally get a bit of data to look at today - perhaps it will offer markets a diversion from the lousy earnings reports," DBS Group Research said in a report.

"If any data can do it, it's the housing data and new sales are on tap today," it added.

Oil prices have plummeted since last week after major companies such as Google, IBM and McDonald's turned in weak earnings.

The world's biggest maker of construction and mining equipment Caterpillar on Monday also cut its sales outlook for 2012, indicating a sharp slowdown in the fourth quarter and sparking oil demand fears.

However, DBS Group Research warned that the US housing data might not be enough to divert traders from the grim fact that the economy of the world's largest oil consuming nation was still struggling to find its feet.

"The question is, can markets take their minds off of the lousy earnings which are, at the end of the day, a function of the lousy growth in the economy," it said.

commodities  |  markets  |  oil
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