A sharp drop in equities is having little impact as oil prices continue to trade near the January highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial average is down over 1.0% and the S&P 500 is down 1.6%, but WTI crude is showing some modest gains trading above $52 a barrel.

It has been a fairly quiet day for commodity markets with oil trading in a $1.75 channel. Markets have found strong support at $51. According to some commodity strategists, oil prices could still be benefiting from the Fed's quantitative easing measures announced on Wednesday.

There is some concern that the steps the Fed has taken will cause a sharp rise in inflation, which according to some strategists, is causing investors to flee to commodities like oil, gold and silver.

Rob Rigiel, energy futures broker from MF Global said he doesn't see a lot of conviction in Friday's equity selloff, which could be the reason why it hasn't translated in to weaker oil prices.

There has been a strong rally in equities and I think what we are seeing today is just some profit taking, he said. If there is more selling at the start of next week I think we could see that drag down equity markets.

With oil prices above $50 a barrel the big question commodity traders are asking is just how long this run could last. Rigiel said he doesn't think this is the start of an uptrend in prices.

Although there is strong support at $50, he said there doesn't seem to be enough momentum to break through $55.

There are a lot of reasons for prices to go higher but there are also a glut of reasons for prices to go lower, he said.

WTI Crude oil is up $0.22 to $52.26 while ICE crude oil is trading up $0.83 to $51.50.

Meanwhile, ICE RBOB gasoline futures are up $7.16 to $143.73 and Globex natural gas is down $0.01 to $1.36. Heating oil at the ICE is up $0.67 to $136.30.

In the mining sector, spot gold is trading down $7.18 to $952.68 USD. In Canadian dollars, gold is down $9.08 to C$1180.77. Silver contracts at the CBOT are up $0.31 to $13.82.

Bloomberg's index for base metals is down 1.02 points to 122.62. Wheat futures at the CBOT are down $5.00 to $550.25.

All data taken at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

By Neils Christensen, neilsc@economicnews.ca, edited by Megan Ainscow, mainscow@economicnews.ca