* Price supported by firm equity markets, strong U.S. data
* Demand growth outlook seen moderate
* Oil markets are well supplied -analyst (Updates prices, details)
By Ramya Venugopal
CHENNAI, India, May 20 (Reuters) - Brent crude futures held above $104 per barrel on Monday, supported by positive economic data and strong equity markets, while a moderate outlook for demand and ample supplies dragged on prices.
Traders are watching for the minutes of a Federal Reserve meeting due to be released on Wednesday, to assess the outlook for the oil markets, as any hints of continued monetary easing by the U.S. central bank would be bullish.
Asian stock markets edged higher, boosted by a record closing high for U.S. equities on positive consumer sentiment and future economic activity data, while Middle East tension flared over the weekend.
That was offset by weaker oil demand growth forecast for 2013, as well as higher supply forecasts by the International Energy Agency last week.
"The oil market is getting into what I think will prove to be the top end of the range," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.
"Primarily the outlook for demand growth is pretty moderate and the markets are well supplied with high inventory levels, so we'll struggle to get past the resistance levels."
Front-month Brent futures stood at $104.53 per barrel by 0723 GMT, down 11 cents from Friday's close after three straight sessions of gains. U.S. crude slipped 26 cents to $95.76.
Brent faces technical resistance between $104.50 and $106.50, and may trade in a range of $101 to $106.50 per barrel this week, Spooner said.
Brent could rise to $105.94 if it breaks through resistance at $104.82 per barrel, according to Reuters market analyst Wang Tao. U.S. crude may drop towards $94.78 as it hasn't been able to convincingly break through resistance at $95.98, he added.
Wednesday's minutes of the U.S. central bank meeting will be closely examined for clues to the Fed's stance on quantitative easing and the impact on the current round of easing, or QE3, traders said.
The Fed's quantitative easing has helped fuel rallies across asset markets by increasing the cash supply in the system.
"Any hint in Bernanke's testimony or the FOMC minutes toward a change in policy could significantly affect equity, interest rate, foreign exchange, and commodity markets," Jason Schenker, president of Prestige Economics, wrote in a report.
"Hints of unchanged QE, longer QE, or additional QE would be bullish for equities and commodities," he added.
Oil markets were also supported as tension in the Middle East was reignited over the weekend, raising worries that supplies from the biggest producing region may be affected.
Lebanese Hezbollah militants attacked a Syrian rebel-held town alongside Syrian troops on Sunday and Israel threatened more attacks on Syria to rein the militia in.
The IEA last week forecast 8 percent growth in world oil demand on aggregate between 2012 and 2017, while supplies outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are expected to rise 10 percent.
(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)