UPDATE 8-U.S. crude oil edges lower, heating demand supports; Brent firm
* U.S. crude stocks rose 6.4 mln barrels last week-EIA
* Heating oil futures at 5-mth high on cold weather demand
* U.S. gasoline prices rise on unexpected draw
* Coming up: CFTC COT report on Friday at 3:30 p.m. EST (Rewrites throughout, adds analyst's quote, Fed stimulus decision)
NEW YORK, Jan 29 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures ended marginally lower on Wednesday, paring most losses after a sharp rally in heating fuels as frigid temperatures swept across the nation and utilities reached for any available fuel to keep homes and businesses warm.
U.S. ultra low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) futures, or light heating oil, rose to a five-month high following a near 14 percent rise in U.S. natural gas futures prices 10 minutes before the end of the trading session.
The arctic-like weather plaguing the U.S. Northeast and Midwest for most of January hit U.S. southern states on Wednesday shutting down airports and stranding motorists on highways.
Utilities with oil burning plants have had to purchase oil to run those plants since coal, natural gas and nuclear plants are running near full capacity, some brokers said.
"It's all hands on deck from the power guys," said Gene McGillian, energy analyst with Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. "Some of the utilities didn't anticipate this winter."
ULSD futures initially rose early in the session after U.S. government data showed a steep decline, the third in as many weeks, in distillate inventories, which include heating oil.
Brent crude oil rose moderately, supported by Middle East supply concerns. Spillover attacks from the civil war in Syria have hindered development of Iraq's gas and oil reserves and a major pipeline to the Mediterranean has been blown up dozens of times, Iraq's top energy official said on Tuesday.
Brent oil rose 44 cents to settle at $107.85 per barrel. U.S. oil fell by more than a $1 to a session low of $96.32 after the oil inventory figures were released. The contract pared losses to settle 5 cents lower at $97.36.
The price difference between the two contracts CL-LCO1=R widened to $10.49.
Gains in U.S. crude oil were capped by a hefty build in crude inventories. U.S. crude stocks rose 6.4 million barrels, including a 237,000-barrel build at Cushing, Oklahoma, where the U.S. oil futures benchmark contract is priced, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed.
Distillate inventories fell 4.6 million barrels, more than double expectations, while gasoline stocks dropped compared with analysts forecasts for a build.
ULSD futures rose to a high of $3.1869 per gallon, the highest since Aug. 29, before settling up 1.9 percent at $3.1816. The unexpected draw in gasoline stocks caused U.S. gasoline futures to rise and settle 1.3 percent higher at $2.6609 per gallon.
"The stronger-than-expected products demand gave the market a little bit of a bullish tilt," said Phil Flynn, an analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago, Illinois.
Investors also eyed maintenance schedules from refiners that could curb demand for crude. Philadelphia Energy Solutions will begin a turnaround on Wednesday at its 335,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Philadelphia after an unplanned outage of units.
Financial markets were also nudged by a late-afternoon announcement from the Federal Open Market Committee confirming that it will trim its monetary stimulus by another $10 billion per month beginning in February to $65 billion.
Oil pared slight gains just after the 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT)announcement and U.S. stocks accelerated their selloff, concerned that the Fed went ahead with the cut in the face of shaky emerging market economies. (Additional reporting by Elizabeth Dilts in New York and Peg Mackey in London; Editing by Jason Neely and Marguerita Choy)
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