Crude rises as Ukraine crisis heats up, stirs supply fears

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Investing.com - Crude futures rose on Thursday after tensions between Russia and Ukraine heated up, with Moscow threatening action if Kiev continues to crackdown on separatists.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in June traded at $101.94 a barrel during U.S. trading, up 0.49%. New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of $101.43 a barrel and a high of $102.35 a barrel.

The June contract settled down 0.30% at $101.44 a barrel on Wednesday.

Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $101.20 a barrel, Wednesday's low, and resistance at $104.97 a barrel, the high from April 15.

Ukraine military forces killed five separatists earlier, while Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Kiev against stepping up its offensive against the rebels.

Concerns that the West may impose new sanctions against Russia stoked fears over possible supply disruptions. Russia is the world's second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile in the U.S., positive data sent prices gaining as well.

The Commerce Department reported earlier that U.S. orders for durable goods rose 2.6% in March, beating expectations for a 2% gain.

Core durable goods orders, which exclude volatile transportation items, rose 2% last month, far outpacing forecasts for a 0.6% gain.

Separately, the Labor Department said the number of individuals who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. in the week ending April 19 rose by 24,000 to 329,000. Analysts had expected an increase of 5,000.

Despite the increase, underlying trends still point to recovery in the labor market, giving investors room to shrug off the data and stick with oil under the assumption the U.S. economy is on the mend and will demand more fuel and energy going forward.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for June delivery were up 1.21%, trading at US$110.43 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at US$8.49 a barrel.

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