NEW YORK, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Crude prices plunged on Tuesday for the second consecutive day as weak durable orders overshadowed improving consumer confidence.
Market sentiment was hit as data pointed to a struggling economic recovery and weakening oil demand.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported that new factory orders for durables in January fell 4.0 percent, following a revised 3.2 percent jump in December and 4.2 percent surge in November. The decline in January was much worse than the consensus forecast for a 0.7 percent dip. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, durable fell 3.2 percent, significantly below market expectations for a 0.3 percent increase.
Meanwhile, U.S. home prices dipped further in December, with all three major indexes dipped to new lows since the housing crisis began in mid-2006, according to a report released by S&P Indices.
But the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index for February climbed to its one-year high as consumers remained optimistic about the short-term outlook for economy, job market and their financing conditions.
Worldwide, investors were eyeing on European Central Bank, expecting the central bank on Wednesday would offer a second tranche of liquidity as part of its Long-Term Refinancing Operation.
Light, sweet crude for April delivery dropped 2.01 dollars, or 1.85 percent to settle at 106.55 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude for April delivery also fell and last traded below 122 dollars a barrel.