Crude Oil Futures Keep Up the Bullish Rally

Crude oil futures ended higher on Thursday but closed lower than $100 per barrel mark on recovery of the greenback. Investors remained mixed on Thursday as the US stock markets also turned lower while US economic data also gave mixed signals.

As per data of US Commerce Department, new home sales fell 2.2 percent in December, index of leading economic indicators gained 0.4 percent, durable goods orders rose 3 percent while Jobless claims increased by 21,000 to 377,000 for the week.

Crude oil futures contract for March delivery gained 0.3 percent or $0.30 to settle at $99.70 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

On Thursday, Energy Information Administration also released the data on natural gas supplies which fell by 192 billion cubic feet for the week ending January 20th, 2012 while analysts were hoping for a decrease of 171 billion cubic feet in inventories data.

Energy analyst, Tim Evans from Citigroup’s Futures Perspectives commented, “In effect, the market is looking forward at a warming trend that will reduce heating demand, rather than back at last week.”

Natural gas futures contract for March delivery fell 4.5 percent or $0.12 to settle at $2.61 per million British thermal units. Gasoline futures for February delivery jumped 0.5 percent or $0.01 to $2.85 per gallon while heating oil for the same month delivery surged 1.1 percent or $0.03 to $3.05 per gallon.

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