Commodity Corner: Crude Climbs on Consumer Confidence

Buoyed by rising consumer confidence numbers, December crude oil futures edged upward Tuesday. However, a stronger dollar limited gains.

Oil prices rose 3 cents, settling at $82.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Although traders are skeptical looking ahead to next week's Federal Reserve meeting and mid-term elections, the Conference Board reported a slight increase in consumer confidence for the month of October. At 50.2, consumer confidence is up from September's revised 48.6.

Meanwhile, the dollar rebounded from lows against foreign currencies. The greenback advanced from its 15-year low against the yen Monday on anticipation that pending Fed actions will not achieve market expectations. The dollar strengthened 0.8 percent against the euro Tuesday at $1.38. A stronger dollar lessens the allure of commodities as an investment.

Crude prices peaked at $82.88 and bottomed out at $81.81 on Tuesday.

Henry Hub natural gas settled up for the first time in four days as forecasts showed cooler weather in early November, boosting heating fuel demand. Gas ended the day at $3.35 per thousand cubic feet, a 3.7-cent increase, after falling to 13-month lows three days straight. The natural gas futures price fluctuated from $3.26 to $3.41 Tuesday.

Weather forecasters predict below-normal temperatures next week through much of the Eastern U.S. Given Wednesday's expiration of the November contract, analysts anticipate more bullish weather pronouncements.

Reformulated gasoline blendstock also rose, ending Tuesday's trading session a penny higher at $2.09 a gallon. The intraday range for gasoline was $2.06 to $2.10.