Oil Futures End Higher, Post Strong Gains In Holiday-shortened Week

By William L. WattsMarketWatch Pulse

Crude-oil futures ended higher in an abbreviated Christmas Eve session Thursday, with West Texas Intermediate oil for February delivery rising 60 cents, or 1.6%, to close at $38.10 a barrel. For the week, oil rose 5.7%, boosted in part by an unexpected fall in inventories and unwinding of short positions ahead of the Christmas holiday, analysts said. It's still been a brutal month and year for crude, with the U.S. benchmark down 8.5% since the end of November and more than 28% since the end of last year.

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