Oil Steadies Near $81 Comfort Zone

Unsure whether to avert investment away from risky commodities, traders continued to bet on energy amid positive movements in the broader financial market Tuesday. However, despite posting a small gain to nearly $82 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil futures failed to take on the April front-month contract's recent rallies.

Rolling in a new contract for May delivery, the price of light, sweet crude oil remained steady throughout the day's session, barely scaling over an $82 intra-day high but keeping well above an $80 low. Oil prices ultimately settled slightly higher than yesterday's final price tag at $81.91 a barrel.

Likewise, NYMEX gasoline futures maintained a bullish price tag of $2.26 a gallon, while natural gas spot prices also closed on the upside to $4.13 Mcf.

Interestingly, the greenback pared losses against the euro during today's session, which usually puts downward pressure on the U.S. currency's dollar-denominated commodities; however, commodities chose to instead track rising equities.

Today, U.S. stocks rose on housing data indicating a less-than-expected decline in existing home sales, as well as from previous gains in the healthcare sector, a report by Reuters documented.

"Yesterday, the crude market had a lot of action, but today we're a market still waiting for something to happen," noted Phil Flynn, vice president in charge of research at PFG Best in Chicago.

The analyst continued, "Of course, we have this week's inventory reports coming out that may give us a little inspiration, but today crude didn't know what to key off of, and the market was on guard and far from definitive."