Investing.com - U.S. oil futures declined in choppy trade on Thursday, after data showed that U.S. durable goods orders fell for the third time in four months in January.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in April traded in a range between $101.77 a barrel and $103.08 a barrel.
Nymex oil prices last traded at $101.92 a barrel during U.S. morning hours, down 0.65%. The April contract added 0.75% on Wednesday to settle at $102.59 a barrel.
Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $101.02 a barrel, the low from February 25 and resistance at $103.45 a barrel, the high from February 24.
The U.S. Commerce Department said that total durable goods orders, which include transportation items, declined by a seasonally adjusted 1% last month, compared to expectations for a 1.5% drop.
Orders for durable goods in December were revised down to a 5.3% decline from a previously reported drop of 4.2%.
Core durable goods orders, excluding volatile transportation items, increased by a seasonally adjusted 1.1% in January, compared to forecasts for a 0.3% decline.
Core durable goods orders in December were revised down to a 1.9% decline from a previously reported drop of 1.3%.
Orders for core capital goods, a key barometer of private-sector business investment, rose 1.7% last month, confounding expectations for a 0.2% decline and after falling 1.8% in December.
Shipments of core capital goods, a category used to calculate quarterly economic growth, dipped 0.8% in January, compared to forecasts for a 1% decline, after rising 0.3% in the preceding month.
A separate report from the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits rose by 14,000 to 348,000 last week. Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 1,000 to 335,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 334,000.
Continuing jobless claims in the week ended February 14 rose to 2.964 million from 2.956 million in the preceding week. Analysts had expected continuing claims to increase to 2.985 million.
Investors now looked ahead to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen''s Senate testimony later in the day. Ms. Yellen was expected to reiterate that the U.S. central bank would continue to roll back its asset purchase program, as long as the economy improves as expected.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for April delivery fell 0.7% to trade at $108.75 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at $6.83 a barrel.
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