Oil settled near $US40 a barrel on Wednesday, down slightly after the US stock market fell and a government report showed a larger-than-expected build in U.S. crude inventories.
US light crude for March delivery settled at $US40.32, down 46 cents, after falling to a session low of $US39.74. London Brent settled at $US44.15, up 7 cents.
US equities dropped on investor concern over a financial rescue plan, reversing gains from earlier in the day on a slowdown in the rate of job losses in the US services sector.
The US Energy Information Administration reported crude inventories rose 7.2 million barrels last week to an 18-month high of to 346.1 million barrels, as demand wanes under the weight of an economic slowdown.
Supplies of crude at the New York Mercantile Exchange's delivery point in Cushing, Oklahoma, jumped 800,000 barrels to another record high of 34.3 million barrels.