Oil's Rally Sputters on Technical Weakness

A bout of technical weakness sent U.S. crude futures spiraling down as oil traders grew risk averse on rising supplies on the domestic front, as well as concerns over Greece's downgraded debt rating.

During a volatile trading session on the New York Mercantile Exchange, benchmark crude oil for May delivery strengthened to an intra-day high slightly above $86, but ultimately pared off earlier gains to settle on the downside to $84.92 a barrel.

Earlier this week, oil futures swung above $87, marking an intra-day high for the year, but analysts anticipated a correction on government data spotlighting rising crude oil and distillate supplies.

NYMEX gasoline prices also edged down to just below the future contract's high-ranging threshold of $2.30 a gallon.

Today, Chevron's upbeat preliminary earnings report for the first quarter lifted spirits on Wall Street and helped spur the Dow Jones Index to a high of 11,000 for the first time since September 2008.

However, oil prices failed to maintain a recent rally that pushed prices toward a new resistance area near $90 a barrel.

Additionally, a downgrade of Greece's credit ratings from Fitch Ratings amid the euro zone country's continued financial hardships also pressured the crude market late in the session.

On the opposite side of the energy coin, natural gas spot prices at the Henry Hub gathered steam on the commodity exchange to settle back to $4 per thousand cubic feet.