Oil Futures Recover From Early Losses, Settle Notably Higher

Crude oil futures settled higher on Thursday, recovering from early losses, as Israel reportedly prepared to move into Gaza to fight against Hamas.

Oil prices fell earlier in the session, after the United States’ decision to ease crude sanctions against Venezuela offset potential supply disruptions amid the tensions in the Middle East.

Also, reports suggest that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is not inclined to take up member Iran’s call for an oil embargo on Israel after a huge explosion at a Gaza hospital.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for November ended higher by $1.05 or about 1.2% at $89.37 a barrel.

Brent crude futures settled at $92.38 a barrel, up $0.88 or about 1%.

A weak dollar supported oil prices. The dollar eased after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell failed to signal a hike at the central bank’s rate decision, due early next month.

The dollar index dropped to a low of 105.98 before recovering to around 106.19, but still remained well below the unchanged line.

In economic news, data from the Labor Department showed initial jobless claims fell to 198,000 in the week ended October 14th, down 13,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 211,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 212,000 from the 209,00 originally reported for the previous week.

A report released by the National Association of Realtors on Thursday showed a notable decrease in U.S. existing home sales in the month of September. Existing home sales decreased for the fourth consecutive month, falling to their lowest level since October 2010.

A reading on leading U.S. economic indicators fell by more than expected in the month of September, according to a report released by the Conference Board on Thursday. The Conference Board said its leading economic index slid by 0.7% in September after falling by a revised 0.5% in August.

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