Oil Ends With Modest Gains After Surprise Rise In U.S. Stockpiles

By William L. Watts Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Oil futures ended with modest gains Wednesday, trimming an earlier rally after government data showed an unexpected rise in U.S. oil inventories last week. West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 12 cents to end at $51.15 a barrel after trading as high as $51.88 in earlier action. Oil retreated, briefly trading in negative territory, after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude inventories rose 1.6 million barrels last week versus forecasts for a fall of 200,000 barrels. A further rise in refinery utilization, however, limited selling pressure, analysts said.

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