CRUDE OIL closed higher due to short covering on Wednesday and the midrange close sets the stage for a steady opening when Thursday's night session begins. Stochastics and the RSI are turning neutral to bullish signalling that sideways to higher prices are possible nearterm. Closes above the 20day moving average crossing are needed to confirm that a low has been posted. If it extends this month's decline, last October's low crossing is the next downside target.