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Oil prices closed higher Thursday after a volatile session that saw the New York price drop below $44 a barrel for the first time since March 2009. While the market remained worried about the global glut of crude, the US benchmark futures contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery, finished up eight cents to close at $44.53 a barrel, after falling as low as $43.58. Brent North Sea crude for March, the key European contract, also swung sharply before settling at $49.13 a barrel in London, a gain of 66 cents from Wednesday's closing level.
By Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc's revenue grew 15 percent in the final three months of the year, falling short of Wall Street's revenue target as the price of its online ads remained under pressure. Google said consolidated revenue totaled $18.10 billion, compared to $15.71 billion in the year-ago period. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S were looking for revenue of $18.46 billon. (Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Richard Chang)
Oil company ConocoPhillips Thursday slashed its 2015 drilling budget, cutting it for the second time in less than two months as falling oil prices pressure petroleum-sector earnings. ConocoPhillips now plans $11.5 billion in capital spending for 2015, down from the $13.5 billion announced in December, which was itself a cut of 20 percent from the 2014 level. The move came as ConocoPhillips reported a net loss of $39 million for the fourth quarter, compared with $2.5 billion in profits a year ago, due in part to lower commodity prices. ConocoPhillips said the cuts would entail delays in some US drilling and deferrals on some major projects.