By Alison Sider

Oil prices flipped from gains to losses Tuesday, with market participants remaining cautious as voters went to the polls for the U.S. presidential election.

U.S. crude futures fell 40 cents, or 0.89%, to $44.49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, fell 45 cents, or 0.98%, to $45.70 a barrel.

Crude prices snapped a six-session losing streak Monday, following the stock market higher, after the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had not uncovered new evidence to warrant charges against presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Investors interpreted that as favorable to Mrs. Clinton's chances.

But analysts expect crude to trade in anarrow band until the outcome of the election is clear.

"It's going to be kind of a choppy day until we see what's going on with the election," said Tariq Zahir, managing member of Tyche Capital Advisors. "It seems like nobody's taking any positions."

Also weighing on prices are the stronger U.S. dollar and weaker Chinese crude import figures. Chinese customs data show that imports totaled 6.79 million barrels a day in October, 16% lower than September.

Market participants are weighing the chances that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will be able to finalize a deal to limit output. OPEC officials reaffirm the cartel's commitment to a tentative agreement to cut production Monday, helping to lift prices, but analysts and traders remain wary.

"The market looks at the amount of oil coming out of the OPEC and non-OPEC members and sees the glut continuing," said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates.

Market participants are also waiting to see whether U.S. crude supplies will build again after last week's record addition to stockpiles. The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, will release its estimate Tuesday evening ahead of official data Wednesday.

Gasoline futures fell 1.55 cents, or 1.13%, to $1.3555 a gallon. Diesel futures fell nearly 1 cent, or 0.69%, to $1.4307 a gallon.

Kevin Baxter contributed to this article.

Write to Alison Sider at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 08, 2016 10:53 ET (15:53 GMT)

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