* EIA: crude inventories fell less than forecast
* Private employment cut, thinner factory orders weigh
NEW YORK, Sept 2 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures settled unchanged on Wednesday after a choppy session during which prices were mostly lower as government data showed a small drawdown in crude oil inventories last week.
Gasoline futures gained as the data showed motor fuel supplies fell far more than anticipated.
Heating oil futures whittled down losses, although inventory data showed distillate supplies rose more than expected.
"The crude market viewed a modest decline in stocks as bearish since it had been primed for a much larger draw given yesterday's API indications," said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch & Associates in Galena, Illinois.
Looking at the whole picture, "it was a bearish report ... from a logical intelligent observation. Supplies are high," said Stephen Schork, editor of The Schork Report, in Villanova, Pennsylvania.
Wall Street trading provided little direction for the oil markets during the day, NYMEX traders said.
In late trading, U.S. equities were holding on to tiny gains amid jitters about the economy and following three straight days of declines. [.N]
U.S. private employers cut 298,000 jobs in August, fewer than a revised 360,000 jobs lost in July but more than the 250,000 job cuts expected by analysts, a report by ADP Employer Services said on Wednesday. [ID:nN02429512]
New orders received by U.S. factories rose a smaller-than-expected 1.3 percent in July, with a rise in aircraft orders countering sluggish demand for nondurable goods, government data showed.
In the currency markets, the yen touched a seven-week high against the U.S. dollar, in reaction to the worse-than-expected U.S. private sector jobs report. [USD/]
* On the New York Mercantile Exchange, October crude CLV9 settled unchanged at $68.05, trading from $67.05 to $68.80.
* In London, October Brent crude LCOV9 ended down 7 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $67.66 a barrel, trading from $66.76 to $68.55.
* NYMEX October RBOB RBV9 ended up 2.64 cents, or 1.48 percent, at $1.8086 a gallon, trading from $1.7680 to $1.8216.
* NYMEX October heating oil HOV9 settled down 0.84 cent, or 0.48 percent, at $1.7505 a gallon, trading from $1.7367 to $1.7836.
* The October/October RBOB crack spread <0#RB-CL=R> ended at $7.91, up from $6.80 on Tuesday. The October/October heating oil crack spread <0#CL-HO=R> ended at $5.47, down from $5.82 on Tuesday.
* The spread between the current front month and the five-year forward crude contract CLc61 ended at $14.21, edging down from $14.44 on Tuesday. The October 2014 contract settled on Wednesday at $82.26, down 23 cents, or 0.28 percent.
NYMEX crude 10-day/20-day moving average: $71.61/$70.78
NYMEX crude: $66.14/$71.00
NYMEX heating oil: $1.7230-$1.7948
NYMEX RBOB: $1.7409/$1.8235
For a full report on technicals, click on [ID:nL2602451]
* The EIA said crude oil stocks fell 400,000 barrels last week to 343.4 million barrels, slightly less than the forecast for a 600,000-barrel drawdown in a Reuters poll, but far less than the 3.2 million-barrel drop the American Petroleum Institute reported on Tuesday. [EIA/S]
* Crude stocks at the NYMEX delivery hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, fell by 600,000 barrels to 31.2 million barrels.
* Gasoline stocks slid 3.0 million barrels to 205.1 million barrels, more than the forecast for a 900,000-barrel drawdown, but close to the 2.8 million-barrel drop in the API data.
* Distillate stocks rose 1.2 million barrels to 163.6 million barrels, smaller than the forecast for a 600,000-barrel increase and in line with the API's 920,000-barrel increase.
* Hovensa LLC said it does not expect to shut its 500,000 barrel-per-day St. Croix refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands due to Tropical Storm Erika. [ID:nN02530615]
* Tropical Storm Erika, which formed late Tuesday in the western Atlantic Ocean, was nearing Guadeloupe in the Leeward islands on Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in its 2 p.m. advisory. [ID:nN02508650]
* OPEC is likely to keep output targets steady when it meets Sept. 9, a Kuwaiti OPEC delegate said. [ID:nL2552488] (Reporting by Gene Ramos and Robert Gibbons; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)