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A move higher in the last few minutes of trading in New York on Thursday allowed U.S. benchmark oil futures to notch a ninth straight session of gains, the longest such stretch of gains in about nine years. Traders haven't heard much about the outcome of trade talks that ended Wednesday between the U.S. and China, but prices have been able to rise on expectations for progress toward a resolution on trade, as well as data showing declines in output among major oil producers. February West Texas Intermediate oil added 23 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at $52.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The nine-session climb was the longest for a front-month contract since the 10-session rise that ended on Jan. 6, 2010, according to Dow Jones Market Data. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.