NYMEX Crude Pauses Near $82; Natural Gas Extends Losses

Pausing after yesterday's advance to nearly $83 a barrel, NYMEX crude oil futures settled down slightly at the close of today's session, but still maintained a bullish final price tag.

The price of light, sweet crude oil for April delivery shed close to 75 cents Thursday, ultimately settling to $82.20 a barrel, while NYMEX gasoline futures also traded on the downside to $2.30 a gallon.

Despite arrows pointing downward for energy commodities on the session, oil and gasoline prices have kept near record highs in recent weeks.

On the opposite side of the energy coin, natural gas spot prices posted an additional loss to $4.09 Mcf.

"Commodities remain so closely tied to what's going on with the dollar that you can almost guess where these markets are going just by looking at the direction of the dollar on any given day," said Darin Newsom, senior analyst with DTN, a market information service in Omaha, Nebraska.

"The dollar has been under pressure lately and that's been providing support to commodities, but most notably crude oil," Newsom added.

The analyst also pointed to the Dow Jones index continuing to move higher, economic improvements on the domestic front and the expectation for a pickup in seasonal demand as other driving factors helping to support $82 crude.

"On top of the normal seasonal rally, we've also got this investment money coming back into commodities on the idea that the worst seems to have passed," Newsom concluded.