Oil futures mark lowest close in almost two weeks

SAN FRANCISCO (July 24)  Oil futures fell Wednesday to close at their lowest level in almost two weeks, with disappointing data on Chinese manufacturing activity helping to push prices back below $106 a barrel. September crude /quotes/zigman/2291784 CLU3 -1.81% lost $1.84, or 1.7%, to settle at $105.39 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the lowest close for a most-active contract since July 11. With data last week showing "very large bullish bets on crude, it doesn't surprise us" to see some traders take profits, said Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital Advisors. "On the back of last night's weak [manufacturing] numbers out of China, it further goes to the argument crude prices should be weaker."