Oil ends slightly higher, around $86 a barrel
NEW YORK -- It wasn't a convincing move higher, but oil managed to rise Thursday for the first time in six days.
Benchmark oil gained 32 cents to finish at $86.05 a barrel in New York. The price had dropped $6.37 a barrel, or 7 percent, over the previous five trading sessions.
Brent crude added 64 cents to end at $108.49 a barrel in London.
The market may have been biding time ahead of Friday's report on gross domestic product. Analysts are estimating that the U.S economy grew 1.8 percent in the third quarter. Any reading above that could spark a rise in oil to the $87-$88 a barrel level, said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates.
Cheaper oil, as well as falling gasoline futures, has brought relief to U.S. drivers at the gas pump. The nationwide average for a gallon or regular fell another 2 cents overnight to $3.60 a gallon. Gas was at $3.74 just a week ago.
In other futures trading in New York:
_ Natural gas prices fell 1.6 cents to finish at $3.434 per 1,000 cubic feet after the government said supplies of the fuel rose last week.
_ Wholesale gasoline rose 7.34 cents, nearly 3 percent, to end at $2.676 a gallon. Gasoline futures had dropped about 12 percent over a two-week period.
_ Heating oil rose 2.3 cents to finish at $3.062 a gallon.