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Crude oil futures decline amid euro zone jitters

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Shutterstock photo - Crude oil futures were lower on Wednesday, as markets were jittery amid concerns over the financial stability of the euro zone and ongoing political uncertainty in Italy.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in May traded at USD95.92 a barrel during European morning trade, down 0.43%.

Investors remained cautious amid fears the bailout deal for Cyprus could set a precedent for future bailouts in larger euro zone states with troubled financial sectors, with bank depositors and bond holders forced to foot the bill.

Elsewhere, talks in Italy aimed at forming a coalition government continued after general elections in late February resulted in a political stalemate, amid growing concerns that the country may have to return to the polls.

Separately, markets were also jittery after a string of U.S. data on Tuesday painted a mixed picture of the strength of the country's economic recovery.

The Conference Board said its index of consumer sentiment fell unexpectedly in March, sliding down to 59.7 from a reading of 68.0 the previous month. Analysts had expected the index to remain unchanged this month.

A separate report showed that new home sales in the U.S. rose 411,000 in February, disappointing expectations for a 422,000 increase, after a 431,000 rise the previous month.

The Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller composite 20 house price index rose to an annualized rate of 8.1% in January, from 6.8% the previous month, beating expectations for a rise to 7.9%.

In addition, the Census Bureau said that U.S. core durable goods orders fell 0.5% in February, disappointing expectations for a 0.5% rise, after a 2.9% increase the previous month.

However, durable goods orders, including transportation items, rose 5.7% last month, more than the expected 3.8% increase, following a 3.8% decline in January.

The U.S. is the world's biggest oil-consuming country, responsible for almost 22% of global oil demand.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for May delivery dipped 0.08% to trade at USD109.27 a barrel, with the spread between the Brent and crude contracts standing at USD13.35 a barrel. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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