NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Oil futures were trading higher on the back of a weaker dollar.
Texas light sweet crude oil for August delivery was higher by 47 cents to $94.10 as the U.S. dollar slid. The August Brent crude oil contract, earlier trading in positive territory, was down 21 cents to $111.48 thanks to some weak European economic data.
The U.S. dollar stayed at around the $74.75 level, down 0.3%, as the euro -- the second-most traded currency -- gained against its U.S. counterpart on confidence that Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and his government will survive a parliamentary vote of confidence. Papandreou overhauled his cabinet on June 17, replacing then finance minister George Papaconstantinou with former defense minister Evangelos Venizelos. The vote is expected to take place at midnight local time and 5 pm ET.
A vote of confidence is viewed as critical to keeping the euro zone on track in its attempt to prevent a Greek debt default and contain European debt contagion risks. Ahead of the event, Papandreou promised to stick with a five-year, more than 28 billion euro austerity plan.
On Monday, European finance ministers unexpectedly postponed the next 12 billion euro round of financial aid to debt-laden Greece, pending a guarantee from the government that it will implement stronger austerity measures, despite the public outcry over such measures.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) insists that it will not provide Greece with desperately needed funding until the European Union promises more funding in the coming year.
"There is ... no doubt that a negative outcome of the confidence vote today is likely to send shock waves through financial markets, while the more expected positive outcome would boost sentiment," said Filip Petersson, SEB Commodity Research strategist. "However, this would by no means be the end of the Greek crisis."
Factoring in a positive outcome on the vote and strong crude oil market fundamentals, the SEB Commodity Research team takes a neutral to bullish view of the crude oil market Tuesday.
"The situation is however very tense and we could see bursts of volatility today," said Petersson.
The IntercontinentalExchange reported that managed money groups -- a key contributor to price formation on exchanges, according to the JBC Energy Research Center -- held net-long positions in 81,000 Brent crude oil futures and options contracts and in 41,000 gas oil contracts on June 14. This compares to the 194,000 West Texas Intermediate and 48,000 heating oil contracts held on the New York Mercantile Exchange the same day, "suggesting that a majority of the financial investment activity is still taking place in the U.S.," JBC analysts said.
Oil stocks were trading higher.
was up 0.9% to $51.56,
was rising 1% to $100.91,
was ahead by 0.9% to $80.42,
was adding 0.9% to $69.34,
was gaining 1.2% to $46.98,
was increasing 0.8% to $82.76 and
was spiking by 2.4% to $17.31.
-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.
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