Investing.com - U.S. oil futures came off the lowest levels of the session on Thursday, after data showed that the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week fell to a 13-week low, easing concerns over the strength of the labor market.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in April fell to a session low of $100.58 a barrel, the lowest since February 18.
WTI oil prices last traded at $101.22 a barrel during U.S. morning hours, down 0.23%, or $0.23 cents. The April contract lost 1.82%, or $1.88 a barrel, on Wednesday to settle at $101.45.
Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $100.30 a barrel, the low from February 18 and resistance at $103.53 a barrel, the high from March 5.
The U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits fell by 26,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 323,000 from the previous week’s revised total of 349,000.
Analysts had expected jobless claims to fall by 11,000 to 338,000 last week.
A separate report showed that U.S. non-farm productivity rose less than initially expected in the fourth quarter, while unit labor costs declined less than forecast.
Also Thursday, the Commerce Department said factory orders declined by a seasonally adjusted 0.7% in January, compared to forecasts for a 0.4% drop.
Market players now looked ahead to Friday’s highly-anticipated nonfarm payrolls report for February, after job growth came in below expectations in December and January.
The Federal Reserve said in its Beige Book released Wednesday that severe winter weather across much of the U.S. took a toll on consumer spending in recent weeks, leading to slower growth and a contraction in some parts of the country.
Meanwhile, in the euro zone, the ECB held its benchmark interest rate at a record low 0.25%, in line with expectations.
Speaking at the ECB’s post-policy meeting press conference, Draghi reiterated that euro zone borrowing costs will remain at their present or lower levels until conditions improve.
Draghi said that the bank was monitoring money markets closely and that it is determined to take decisive actions if required.
His comments boosted the euro against the U.S. dollar, with EUR/USD up by more than 0.8% to hit 1.3845.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for April delivery inched up 0.02%, or $0.03 cents, to trade at $107.80 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at $6.58 a barrel.
Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger: