Oil Fluctuates on Jobless Claims, Fed Growth Outlook
Published: Apr 26, 2012
By Mark Shenk - Apr 26, 2012
Oil fluctuated in New York as more Americans than projected filed jobless claims and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said central banks “remain prepared to do more” to protect the economy.
Futures swung between gains and losses after the Labor Department said jobless claims fell by 1,000 to 388,000 last week. The median forecast of 48 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a drop to 375,000. Growth is expected to “remain moderate over coming quarters and then to pick up gradually,” the Federal Open Market Committee said yesterday in a statement.
“The jobless number pulled us back a tad,” said Tom Bentz, a director with BNP Paribas Prime Brokerage Inc. in New York. “The Fed statement yesterday was seen as slightly optimistic. We ended yesterday higher because of it.”
Crude oil for June delivery rose 11 cents to $104.23 a barrel at 9:20 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Front- month futures have climbed for the past four days, the longest rally in two months. Prices are up 5.5 percent this year.
Brent oil for June settlement increased 68 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $119.80 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract’s premium to West Texas Intermediate crude traded in New York was at $15.57, up from $15 yesterday.
A Commerce Department report tomorrow may show that U.S. growth slowed in the first quarter, fueling speculation that the Fed will consider additional stimulus.
U.S. first-quarter gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services the nation produced, rose at a 2.5 percent annual rate after advancing 3 percent in the previous three months, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
Iran’s envoy in Moscow said yesterday that his country may halt the expansion of its atomic program to avert new sanctions.
“There are a number of headlines out there but they are offsetting each other,” said Addison Armstrong, director of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “Iran may stop expanding its nuclear program, while central banks are pumping a lot of liquidity into the market. They cancel each other out as far as oil is concerned.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Shenk in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org