NEW YORK, April 5 (UPI) -- Crude oil price futures Thursday returned to $103 per barrel as equities were mixed on Wall Street, but labor data was encouraging.
The Labor Department said first-time unemployment benefit claims dropped by 6,000 in the week ending Saturday. Earlier in the week, Automatic Data Processing Inc. said 209,000 private sector jobs were added to the economy in March.
Pressure came from uneven government bond auctions in Spain and France, which undermined investor confidence. In Washington, the Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that U.S. stockpiles of crude oil rose by 9 million barrels in the week to 362.4 million barrels, a larger upturn than expected.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, May delivery crude oil rose to $103.11 from a morning settlement of $101.94 per barrel. Home heating oil added 0.38 cents to $3.173 per gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline shed 0.4 cents to $3.3365 per gallon.
Natural gas prices added 0.7 cents to $2.096 per million British thermal units.
At the pump, the national average price of unleaded gasoline rose to $3.936 per gallon, up from Wednesday's $3.928, AAA said.
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TEL AVIV, Israel, May 17 (UPI) --Nobel Energy of Houston, which discovered Israel's big gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean, is pressing the government to decide soon on an energy export policy as the prospect of an undersea pipeline to Turkey gains credibility.