US oil prices retreated slightly as mediocre economic news gave investors a chance to pause from the bullishness of recent weeks.
The price of US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for September delivery fell 15 cents to close at $104.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
European benchmark Brent oil for September delivery gained 28 cents at $107.45 a barrel.
Gene McGillian, a broker and analyst at Tradition Energy, said oil-buying sentiment took a hit after a trade group's leading index of US pending home sales slipped 0.4 percent in June from a six-year high in May.
The dip was much smaller than analysts expected, but the housing figures came the same day as the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported a regional manufacturing activity index fell to 11.4 in July from 17.1 in June.
Also, the market was perturbed by reports that China's National Audit Office planned an audit of government debt, McGillian said. That raised questions on whether China might pare back spending.
"It seems like the enthusiastic buyers we saw earlier in the month have dried up," McGillian said.
Many analysts also feel that US crude supplies remain fairly robust, even after a streak of recent large inventory withdrawals.
Markets are "focusing more on the fact that supplies remain strong, even though we had a decrease in storage," said David Bouckhout, senior commodity strategist at TD Securities. "And demand is still subdued."
"The feeling is that the market might be overbought," Bouckhout added.
Bouckhout noted that the recent spurt of renewed violence in Egypt boosted Brent more than WTI because Brent is more of a global benchmark.