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Oil ends slightly higher ahead of earnings, Fed
Aggregated Source: Shanghai Daily: Business

THE price of oil inched up yesterday, as traders awaited the start of the quarterly corporate earnings season and the latest word from the Federal Reserve on the economy.

Benchmark oil for May delivery rose 66 cents to finish at US$93.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Alcoa kicks off the first-quarter earnings season after the stock market closes yesterday. Analysts expected the aluminum giant to report slightly lower earnings compared to a year ago. Overall, Wall Street is looking for improved earnings from many companies as the economy shows signs of strengthening.

The minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting will be released tomorrow afternoon. That may give investors more insight into the central bank's view of the economy and prospects for the Fed's bond-buying stimulus program to continue at its current pace.

Brent crude, which sets the price of oil used by many US refineries to make gasoline, rose 54 cents to end at US$104.66 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

- Heating oil rose 4 cents to finish at US$2.95 per gallon.

- Wholesale gasoline rose 5 cents to end at US$2.91 per gallon.

- Natural gas fell 4 cents to end at US$4.08 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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Copyright Shanghai Daily: Business