Crude oil closed modestly lower on Tuesday but rebounded off of its lows of the session. Traders looked ahead to Energy Information Administration data, which is expected to show another build in inventories.
Light sweet crude for May delivery fell 18 cents to end at $53.92 per barrel. Prices slipped as low as $52.45 earlier in the session.
EIA data is due at 10:30 a.m. ET Wednesday. Experts are looking for a build of about 1.2 million barrels, which would be the 22nd rise in 26 weeks.
Stocks gained some steam at the close of Fed Chairman Bernanke's and Treasury Secretary Geithner's appearance before the House Financial Services Committee. After the massive uproar over bonuses at troubled insurer AIG, Bernanke and Geithner discussed the $200 billion rescue of AIG in front of Congress.
In prepared remarks, Bernanke reiterated the rescue was necessary to prevent a 1930s style meltdown, but added the recently-disclosed bonuses given to AIG executives were highly inappropriate.
Meanwhile, Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans predicted that the Fed's actions would help to stabilize financial markets, which is an essential part of an economic recovery. He was speaking at a conference hosted by the Czech National Bank in Prague.
The dollar firmed up a bit versus the euro Tuesday, rising slightly away from a 10-week low. The greenback extended its gains from the previous session versus the yen, paring more of its losses from last week, but continued to weaken versus the pound.
Crude for May rallied to $53.80, up $1.73 on Monday. Prices hit as high as $54.05 earlier in the day, the best level since January.
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