New York oil prices were flat but London-traded Brent crude closed at a nine-month low Tuesday, as concerns about the strength of the global economic recovery continued to cloud the market.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May delivery, finished at $88.72 a barrel, up a mere one cent from Monday's close.
In London trade, the European benchmark Brent North Sea crude, trading on its first day for June delivery, settled 72 cents lower at $99.91 a barrel.
It was the first time Brent closed below $100 since July 10, 2012.
The New York contract, which in Asian trade had fallen more than $2.70 a barrel to $86.06, its lowest level since mid-December, clawed back ground to finish basically flat.
"It's just a technical rebound... we saw a significant amount of selling in the last week, said Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates.
Prices in the morning dropped sharply, still reacting to Monday's weaker-than-expected China growth data and the deadly bomb attacks at the Boston Marathon, Lipow said.
News that the Boston bombings had killed three people and injured more than 170 had weighed heavily on WTI in post-market trade, he added.
Bill Baruch of iiTrader said that a sharp rebound in US equities and the euro's rebound against the dollar had helped support oil prices.
A weaker US currency tends to boost demand for dollar-priced crude oil.
The $100 price for Brent is considered ideal by top oil exporter and OPEC leader Saudi Arabia, Commerzbank analysts noted, and crossing below it could prompt cartel members to cut back production to support prices.