NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Crude oil futures slumped Tuesday, trading in a tight range before settling ahead of weak weekly inventory data.
The April crude contract shed 38 cents, or 0.5%, to settle at $81.49 a barrel, paring its losses since the price approached $80 earlier in the session.
Late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group, said crude oil inventories rose 6.5 million barrels in the week ended Mar. 5.
The government's own data from the Energy Information Administration will be released an hour after Wednesday's opening bell. Analysts surveyed by Platts believe crude stocks rose by 2.1 million barrels last week. Schork Group analyst Hamza Khan said that was one of several factors weighing on prices Tuesday.The reports are expected to reflect a 338,000-barrel drawdown in gasoline stocks, while distillate inventory levels probably fell by 950,000 barrels. Several news reports suggested crude was being dragged down by the rising dollar, which itself got some lift after a
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