Investing.com - Crude prices fell on Thursday after data on weekly U.S. jobless claims missed expectations, while forecasts for a warming trend over much of the country pushed prices lower as well.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in April traded at $101.93 a barrel during U.S. trading, down 0.64%. New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of $101.77 a barrel and a high of $103.08 a barrel.
The April contract settled up 0.75% at $102.59 a barrel on Wednesday.
Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $101.03 a barrel, Tuesday's low, and resistance at $103.45 a barrel, Monday's high.
Weekly data revealed that the number of individuals filing for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week rose more than expected.
The Labor Department said the number of people filing for initial jobless benefits rose by 14,000 to 348,000 from the previous week's total of 334,000. Analysts had expected an increase of just 1,000, which sent oil prices slumping over fears the U.S. economy will consume less fuel and energy due to a still pockmarked road to recovery.
Also on Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that U.S. durable goods orders declined by a seasonally adjusted 1% last month, less than expectations for a 1.5% drop, which gave crude some support.
Core durable goods orders, excluding volatile transportation items, rose 1.1% in January, the largest increase since May, confounding forecasts for a 0.3% decline, which gave oil some support.
Prices also came under pressure after updated weather-forecasting models called for a return of milder temperatures across the eastern U.S.
The U.S. National Weather Service said that higher temperatures than previously forecast were expected in the Midwest from March 6 to March 10, which should curb demand for heating oil.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for April delivery were down 0.73% and trading at US$108.73 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at US$6.80 a barrel.
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