Futures & Commodities

Oil Ends Up at $116.32 on Jobs Optimism


Oil jumped more than 3 percent to over $116 a barrel Friday, after a report -- showing the U.S. economy lost fewer jobs than feared in April -- eased worries about the country's economic health.


U.S. light, sweet crude oil futures for June delivery rose $3.80 to settle at $116.32 before touching a high of $116.49 a barrel in late trade.

London Brent crude gained $4.06 to settle at $114.56.

The gains followed three days of losses amid concerns that economic weakness in the United States would continue to blunt world oil demand growth.

World markets cheered a U.S. government report that the economy lost only 20,000 jobs in April, a quarter the number economists had expected. Surprisingly strong U.S. factory order data improved sentiment further.

"The numbers are still suggesting a mild recession, but maybe they ease fears of a deep or prolonged downturn, and to that extent they would be supportive to the oil market," said Mike Wittner of Societe Generale.

Earlier, oil prices drew support from renewed clashes between Turkey and Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.

Turkish air force bombers attacked Kurdish rebel targets overnight, the latest in a series of strikes since Turkish ground troops crossed the Iraqi border in force in February.

Output disruptions in Nigeria and the lingering effects of a strike at Britain's Grangemouth refinery that temporarily shut down 700,000 barrels per day of North Sea oil production also lent support to the market.

Exxon Mobil was restarting 800,000 barrels per day of production in the West African OPEC nation after reaching a deal with workers on Thursday to end the strike.

"Although the Grangemouth and Nigeria strikes may have been settled, they are only going to further tighten global balances. The market knows that and it knows it's not going to get any more oil out of OPEC," said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Ill.