[NEW YORK] Oil prices finished lower on Thursday following a choppy session as traders looked ahead to Friday's US jobs report for September.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery dipped 35 cents to US$44.74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
European benchmark Brent oil for November delivery lost 68 cents at US$47.69 a barrel in London.
Oil prices rose early in the US session, but the rally soon lost steam.
"It seems like we're just chopping around in directionless trade," said Gene McGillian, broker and analyst at Tradition Energy.
"Clearly the market is struggling with what it needs and wants to do," said Kyle Cooper of IAF Advisors.
The market seemed to pick up momentum early in the session from US petroleum data released on Wednesday that showed lower US oil production.
But McGillian said the declines so far - from about 9.6 million barrels per day to 9.0 million barrels per day - is not great enough to address the supply glut.
US economic data was mixed. A reading on manufacturing activity showed near-flat activity in September, while construction spending rose to a seven-year high in August.
Mr Cooper said the oil market will probably take its cues on Friday from the stock market following the release of the US jobs report. Analysts expect the US economy added 205,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.1 per cent, a seven-year low.