Crude Oil Prices Inch Higher Amid Choppy Trading
(RTTNews) - Following the modest pullback seen in the previous session, the price of crude oil showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Thursday.
Crude oil for May delivery eventually inched up $0.07 to $53.18 a barrel after ending Wednesday's trading down $0.29 at $53.11 a barrel.
The choppy trading shown by oil prices came as traders stuck to the sidelines following the strong upward move seen over the past few weeks.
On the U.S. economic front, a report released by the Labor Department showed a modest decrease in producer prices in the month of March.
The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand edged down by 0.1 percent in March after rising by 0.3 percent in February. Economists had expected prices to come in flat.
The report also said core producer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, came in unchanged in March following a 0.3 percent increase in February. Core prices had been expected to rise by 0.2 percent.
The Labor Department also released a report showing an unexpected drop in first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended April 8th.
The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 234,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's revised level of 235,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 245,000.
Meanwhile, the University of Michigan released a report showing an unexpected improvement in consumer sentiment in the month of April.
The report said the consumer sentiment index rose to 98.0 in April from 96.9 in March, while economists had expected the index to edge down to 96.6.