Crude prices rallied for a second day Thursday, adding 2.9 percent, as Europe presented a new plan for its debt crisis and markets responded to a smaller-than-expected increase in U.S. unemployment claims. Oil prices have rebounded more than 9 percent in the past two days.
In a choppy trading session Thursday, oil for November delivery settled at $82.59 a barrel after fluctuating between $79.08 and $82.90. In London, Brent crude futures gained $3 to settle at $105.73 a barrel.
The European Central Bank's new form of quantitative easing pushed prices higher Thursday afternoon. European lawmakers offered banks new emergency loans—up to EUR40 billion in bank bonds—to help ease its debt crisis.
Markets also received a lift from U.S. data showing fewer new weekly unemployment claims than expected. For the week ending Oct. 1, initial jobless claims increased by only 6,000; analysts had anticipated a larger increase.
Front-month natural gas ended slightly higher on the federal government's latest inventory report. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, natural gas stockpiles for last week grew by 97 billion cubic feet—below expectations.
Natural gas gained nearly 3 cents Thursday to settle at $3.598 per thousand cubic feet. The contract price peaked at $3.64 and bottomed
November reformulated gasoline (RBOB) gained 4.6 percent Thursday, settling at the intraday high of $2.69 a gallon.
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