Oil futures ended higher Thursday, maintaining gains after data showed a smaller-than-expected rise in U.S. crude inventories. West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery rose 86 cents, or 1.6%, to close at $54.45 a barrel. Oil spiked then trimmed gains after the Energy Information Administration said crude inventories rose by 600,000 barrels in the week ended Feb. 17. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had penciled in, on average, a 3.4 million barrel rise.
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