Oil Prices Up After Selloff

The benchmark U.S. crude stabilizes after a sharp decline Monday.
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Updated from 2:18 a.m. EST

Oil prices Tuesday partly recovered from a major selloff Monday.

The February futures contract closed 45 cents higher at $41.77 a barrel in floor trading on the Nymex. Prices fell $2.86 yesterday, capping a five-session decline that put the benchmark U.S. crude near its recent three-month low.

Forecasts for warmer-than-usual weather after a burst of frigid weather in the northeastern U.S. are putting pressure on prices.

Traders are also awaiting closely watched weekly inventory data due out Wednesday.

The benchmark U.S. crude is down some 25% since hitting a record closing high of $55.17 in late October.

The market correction in the past two months caps a year of surging prices amid unusually high demand and tight supply. In addition, periodic disruptions to production in major producers such as Iraq, Norway, Nigeria and even the U.S. -- following Hurricane Ivan's travel through the energy-rich Gulf of Mexico -- have supported prices.