Oil prices fell marginally on Monday, pressured slightly by weaker equity markets and a firmer dollar.
U.S. crude fell 13 cents to settle at $58.50 a barrel, off a session low of $56.78. In London, Brent crude settled down 66 cents at $57.48 a barrel.
There was some late speculative buying that kept losses at a minimum today and that shows you that despite the oil markets earlier following equities, the oil price strength we've seen lately is still intact, said Gene Mcgillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
Oil prices hit a near six-month high of $58.75 on Friday, after the U.S. economy shed fewer than expected jobs in April and government stress test results removed some uncertainty over the health of major American banks.
However, U.S. stocks fell on Monday as investors booked profits after a strong run and several major banks announced large common stock offerings to repay government bailout funds.
Early profit-taking also helped drive the oil market down nearly $2 from Friday's highs before support came from late buying.
A stronger dollar, which makes oil more expensive for holders of other currencies, also added pressure to the oil price.
Oil, which has plummeted from a record high above $147 a barrel last year, has edged higher over the past three months alongside a rally in equity markets.
U.S. crude is up about 80 percent from a January low of $32.70 a barrel.
The oil market is still very strong, despite the fact that we have a glut in crude supply. Prices are not down by much as the market is resilient, said Mark Waggoner, President, Excel Futures, Huntington Beach, California.
In an attempt to support prices, oil producing group OPEC has cut output by 4.2 million barrels per day since September.
The group will meet again later this month to discuss its options going forward.
A Kuwaiti oil official was quoted this weekend saying that OPEC is not expected to announce further output cuts in its next meeting.
Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter, will maintain supply curbs to Asia and the United States in June, industry sources said on Monday, while some importers in Europe were told to expect lower crude volumes.
News from China, the world's second biggest energy consumer, supported the view that the economic climate is brightening.
A top Chinese central banker said the government's stimulus plan had worked better than expected, while crude imports data showed a spike in demand.
China's April crude imports marked the first monthly increase of the year and hit the second-highest level on a daily basis, providing more evidence that oil demand in the country was picking up.
According to a preliminary Reuters poll ahead of weekly government inventory data released Wednesday, U.S. crude stockpiles are expected to rise by 1.2 million barrels in the week ending May 8, with distillate stocks up 1.1 million and gasoline stocks up 500,000 barrels.
(Additional reporting by Gene Ramos and Robert Gibbons in New York, Jane Merriman and Alex Lawler in London and Fayen Wong in Perth; Editing by Christian Wiessner)