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Crude oil gains as U.S. pending home sales beat expectations

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Investing.com - Crude prices posted solid gains on Thursday after industry data revealed pending home sales beat expectations by a wide margin in May, which pointed to an improving economy that will demand more fuels and energy going forward.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude futures for delivery in August traded up 1.62% at USD97.05 a barrel on Thursday, off from a session high of USD97.39 and up from an earlier session low of USD95.36.

The National Association of Realtors said earlier its pending home sales index rose by 6.7% in May, well above expectations for a 1% gain.

Pending home sales rose 12.5% on a year over year basis last month, also above expectations for an 8.3% increase.

Elsewhere in the U.S., jobless claims fell in line with expectations last week, government data revealed.

The Department of Labor said the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week fell by 9,000 to 346,000, largely in line with expectations for a drop of 10,000 to 345,000.

A separate report showed that U.S. personal spending was up 0.3% in May, in line with expectations.

Elsewhere, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley said earlier the U.S. central bank will keep monetary stimulus programs in place if economic recovery falters.

Dudley's comments and weaker-than expected economic growth figures stoked expectations for the Federal Reserve to keep stimulus programs in place for the coming months, which tend to bolster energy prices as a side effect.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that the U.S. gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 1.8% in the three months to March, below an earlier estimate of 2.4% growth. Economists had expected the growth rate to remain unchanged at 2.4%.

On the ICE Futures Exchange, Brent oil futures for August delivery were up 1.14% at USD102.82 a barrel, up USD5.77 from its U.S. counterpart.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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