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CRUDE OIL closed higher due to short covering on Wednesday and the highrange close sets the stage for a steady to higher opening when Thursday's night session begins. Stochastics and the RSI are bearish signalling that sideways to lower prices are possible nearterm. Closes below the 20day moving average crossing would confirm that a shortterm top has been posted. If it renews the rally off June's low, the 50% retracement level of this year's decline crossing is the next upside target.