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Oil futures end lower as OPEC postpones an output cut decision to Friday

Myra P. Saefong

Oil futures settled lower on Thursday amid ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' decision on production cuts, which the group has postponed until Friday, when it meets with non-member producers. Oil prices were under pressure, "somewhat reflecting the selloff in stocks, some reflecting skepticism OPEC will come through with sufficient production cuts to support prices," said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank. "U.S. production remains robust, although if prices remain close to these low levels production growth could falter. For now we believe prices remain under pressure, even if OPEC can come through with production cuts," he said. January West Texas Intermediate oil lost $1.40, or 2.7%, to settle at $51.49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.