US crude lower as SPR news outweighs economic data

NEW YORK, March 15 Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:49pm EDT

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NEW YORK, March 15 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures ended lower on Thursday as news that Britain had agreed to cooperate with the United States in releasing strategic oil stocks later this year outweighed data showing that jobless claims fell to a four-year low last week and U.S. Northeast manufacturing activity picked up this month.

NYMEX April crude fell for a second day and settled at $105.11 a barrel, down 32 cents, or 0.30 percent. Traders said details about the potential release were sketchy, and that also helped pare losses. It hit a session low of $103.78 on the SPR news. In early trade, it hit the $106.18 session high in early trade.

(Reporting by Gene Ramos)

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