Nymex Crude Flat as Traders Eye Middle East Tensions

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"Unrest in the region has kept oil markets on edge."

Crude futures were nearly flat Thursday as traders paused to evaluate whether new turmoil in the Middle East could disrupt oil supplies.

Light, sweet crude for March delivery recently traded $0.02 lower at $84.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange traded $0.17 higher at $103.95 a barrel.

The protests in Iran, Libya and other Middle East countries following the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have kept oil markets on edge, with investors concerned that unrest in the major oil-exporting region could send prices higher on any signs of escalating turmoil.

Wednesday, reports that Iran is moving warships through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean Sea drew condemnation from Israel, and sent Brent crude to new two-year highs.

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