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Nymex oil futures fall from 3-week high on U.S. demand outlook

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Shutterstock photo - - U.S. oil futures fell from the previous session's three-week high on Thursday, as investors assessed the outlook for oil demand from the world's largest consumer.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. crude oil for delivery in June declined 0.38%, or 39 cents, to trade at $101.99 a barrel during European morning hours.

Nymex oil held in a range between $101.92 and $102.13 a barrel. U.S. oil futures rose to $102.65 a barrel on Wednesday, the most since April 22, before settling at $102.37, up 0.67%, or 66 cents.

New York-traded oil futures were likely to find support at $100.36 a barrel, the low from May 13 and resistance at $102.65 a barrel, the high from May 14.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report on Wednesday that U.S. crude oil inventories increased by 947,000 barrels last week, compared to expectations for a decline of 100,000 barrels.

Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 398.5 million barrels as of last week.

Meanwhile, market players looked ahead to key U.S. data later in the session for further indications on the strength of the economy and the need for stimulus.

The U.S. is to release data on initial jobless claims, consumer inflation and industrial production, as well as a report on manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region later Thursday.

In the euro zone, data released earlier showed that growth in the French economy stalled in the first three months of the year but growth in Germany beat forecasts.

Official data showed that French gross domestic product was flat in the first quarter, disappointing expectations for growth of 0.2%, as consumer spending slumped.

At the same time, data showed that the euro zone's largest economy expanded 0.8% in the three months to March, beating expectations for 0.7%. The annual rate of growth in Germany rose by 2.5%, ahead of expectations for 2.2%.

The U.S. Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.23% to trade at 80.30.

A stronger dollar makes U.S. commodities more expensive for importers holding other currencies such as yen or euro.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for July delivery inched down 0.22%, or 24 cents, to trade at $109.07 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at $7.08 a barrel.

Oil traders continued to monitor events in Ukraine, as conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces continued.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that Ukraine was "as close to civil war as you can get" and urged all sides to find a solution.

Russia produced 10.4 million barrels of oil per day in 2012 and exported 7.4 million, making it the world's second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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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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