Slow start for oil prices after U.S. GDP report

 A mixed report on U.S. GDP and stable incomes reported in the European economy gave only modest support for rallying crude oil prices in early Friday trading.

With second quarter earnings season under way, crude oil prices moved in mixed territory for much of the session Thursday, before settling up. Exxon Mobil said Friday its second quarter earnings of $3.4 billion were nearly double the level from the same time last year. Oil-equivalent production, however, was down 3 percent from last year.

Oil prices Thursday faced pressure after Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said the industry needed to adapt to life with oil trading in the $40 range. Exxon’s CEO Darren Woods said his priority was to create long-term value “regardless of market conditions.”

Data this week indicated steady demand increases in the United States, the world’s leading economy, as crude oil and gasoline inventories declined. A report Thursday from the American Petroleum Institute said June demandfor petroleum was the highest since 2007.

The price for Brent crude oil was up 0.64 percent at 9:15 EDT to $51.82 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, was up 0.3 percent to $49.20 per barrel.

On the economic front, the U.S. Commerce Department said in its first estimate for the second quarter that gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 2.6 percent, better than the first quarter, but slower than the same time last year. First quarter GDP growth was revised lower from 1.4 percent to 1.2 percent for its weakest in a year.

In Europe, household income per capita improved over the fourth quarter, but consumption was stable in the first quarter of the year.

A report this week from Societe Generale said most indicators were bullish this week as oil product demand “remained very strong.” The summer travel season in the United States, which runs through September, usually results in strong demand for petroleum products, though SocGen said it was “cautious on crude” because of the expected decline in demand beyond September.

Crude oil prices may be influenced later in the day when drilling services company Baker Hughes releases its weekly report on exploration and production. Reported as rig counts, a loss could indicate pressure on crude oil prices from the supply side of the energy market is fading.