* US home sales post biggest rise in 6-1/2 yrs
* Asian shares, base metals gain on optimism
* US crude stocks climbed last week, products fell -API
* Coming up: EIA oil inventory data at 1430 GMT (Adds comments, updates prices)
By Jessica Jaganathan
SINGAPORE, March 27 (Reuters) - Brent crude held steady above $109 a barrel on Wednesday after robust U.S. data brightened the outlook for demand from the world's biggest oil consumer, although festering worries over the euro zone capped further gains.
Orders for U.S.-made durable goods surged last month and home prices posted their biggest year-on-year gain in six-and-a-half years in January, suggesting the U.S. economy regained momentum early in the first quarter. That helped push Asian shares, base metals and the dollar higher.
Brent crude slipped 7 cents to $109.29 a barrel by 0614 GMT, after settling $1.19 up and rising for a third straight day in the previous session. U.S. oil fell 25 cents to $96.09 after ending $1.53 higher.
Reflecting investor sentiment on the economies of the two
regions, Brent's premium to U.S. crude
"The fundamentals between the two benchmarks are different, but I think the WTI is a good economic indicator of the U.S. and there are some expectations of recovery in oil demand in the U.S., even though there is an increase in domestic oil production," said Tetsu Emori, a commodities fund manager at Astmax Investments in Tokyo.
"We are also heading into the gasoline demand season so that should be supportive" for the U.S. contract.
The spread has narrowed sharply from $23.45 in February. The improving U.S. economy and increased pipeline flows from the Midwest have supported the U.S. benchmark oil contract.
Meanwhile, Brent has been pressured by increased supplies from the North Sea, while the strict conditions on a rescue plan for Cyprus setting a precedence for other bailouts underlined concerns about Europe's financial stability.
"Although, markets are still grappling with the slowing European growth momentum, U.S. domestic drivers of growth appear solid, with housing data overnight largely in line with expectations and durable goods orders slightly better than expectations," ANZ analysts said in a note.
The upbeat outlook for the United States was tarnished somewhat by other data on Tuesday showing a sharp drop in consumer confidence as Americans worried about the impact of tighter fiscal policy, particularly $85 billion in government budget cuts known as the "sequester".
Elsewhere, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute late on Tuesday showed U.S. crude oil stocks rose 3.7 million barrels last week, much higher than forecast in a Reuters survey of analysts. Inventories of gasoline and diesel both fell more than expected.
The more closely-watched government data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is set for release at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) on Wednesday. (Additional reporting by Manash Goswami; Editing by Himani Sarkar)