NYMEX-Crude steadies above $86, heads for 1st weekly loss in five

SINGAPORE Fri Dec 7, 2012 6:11am IST

SINGAPORE Dec 7 (Reuters) - U.S. crude held steady above $86 per barrel on Friday after dropping for three straight sessions, but prices were headed for their first weekly loss in five as euro zone worries and a looming U.S. fiscal crisis kept investors on the edge.

FUNDAMENTALS

* U.S. crude rose 17 cents to $86.43 at 0039 GMT. For the week, crude was down nearly 3 percent, the first such loss since the week ended Nov. 2 and the biggest since late October.

* The European Central Bank pondered an interest rate cut on Thursday and predicted the euro zone economy would shrink again in 2013, depressing sentiment across markets.

* The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week fell back to the pre-superstorm Sandy range, suggesting a return to modest job growth, although a clearer picture will emerge after the non-farm payrolls data for November due later on Friday.

* With little to show after a month of posturing, the White House and Republicans in Congress dropped hints on Thursday that they had resumed low-level private talks on breaking the stalemate over the "fiscal cliff" but refused to divulge details.

* The turmoil in Egypt worsened after demonstrators rejected a call from President Mohamed Mursi for a national dialogue, demanding the "downfall of the regime" - the chant that brought down his predecessor Hosni Mubarak.

* The two superpowers divided by Syria's civil war met head to head on Thursday, with signs emerging that Russia might curb its support for President Bashar al-Assad and Washington saying events were gathering speed on the ground.

* Iranian oil tankers are sending incorrect satellite signals that confuse global tracking systems and appear to conceal voyages made by other ships to Syria, which, like Iran, is subject to international sanctions.

MARKETS NEWS

* U.S. stocks closed modestly higher on Thursday, a day ahead of the key monthly jobs report, as a rebound in shares of Apple helped boost technology shares.

* The euro languished at one-week lows against the greenback on Friday, having suffered a major setback after the European Central Bank painted a bleak outlook for the euro zone and discussed cutting interest rates.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

1100 Germany Industrial output Oct

1330 U.S. Employment report Nov

1455 U.S. TR/Univ of Michigan consumer sentiment

1930 U.S. CFTC commitment of traders data

2000 U.S. Consumer credit Oct (Reporting by Ramya Venugopal; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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