US oil ends choppy session higher as data provide boost

Brent crude oil fell on Thursday after the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union joined to call for an end to the violence in Ukraine, taking some risk premium out of the market, while U.S. oil rose on positive economic data.

The joint statement from the four parties meeting in Geneva sought an immediate halt to violence in Ukraine, where Western powers believe Russia is fomenting a pro-Russian separatist movement.

Read More Deal reached on 'concrete steps' to calm Ukraine

Source: Denver International Airport

Brent crude for June delivery, which has received support in recent days as violence in Ukraine has escalated, was flat under $110 a barrel, after earlier hitting a high of $110.19 ahead of the joint statement on Ukraine. Brent hit $110.36 in intraday trade on Wednesday, the highest since March 4.

While the United States and European Union have stopped short of imposing sanctions on Russia's oil and gas exports, tensions between them and the world's second-largest crude exporter have put energy markets on edge.

U.S. prices found support from strong U.S. employment data, which showed new applications for unemployment benefits close to a 6-1/2 year low, the latest sign the economy of the world's largest oil consumer is gaining momentum.

U.S. oil for delivery in May rose 54 cents to end at $104.30 a barrel, after earlier hitting a high of $104.78 a barrel. The contract had touched a six-week high of $104.99 in the previous session, though a report showing a large build in stockpiles had weighed on sentiment on Wednesday.

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