Oil above $95, tracking stock gains, after report shows steady US job growth

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The price of oil jumped back above US$95 Friday, following stock markets higher after the U.S. government reported that May was another month of steady job growth.

In morning trading in New York, benchmark oil for July delivery was up 87 cents to $95.63 a barrel.

The oil market's initial reaction to the report from the U.S. Labor Department was negative. Oil fell as low as $93.72 a barrel after the jobs numbers came out. But U.S. stock markets rose about one per cent in early trading, and oil soon reversed course.

U.S. employers added 175,000 jobs in May, below the more robust pace that took place during the fall and winter.

The government said the unemployment rate rose to 7.6 per cent from 7.5 per cent in April. But the increase occurred because more people began looking for work, a good sign.

The report also showed the economy added 12,000 fewer jobs in April and March than originally estimated.

Meanwhile, Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oil varieties, was up 69 cents to $104.30 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline rose two cents to $2.87 a gallon.

— Heating oil was up two cents at $2.89 per gallon.

— Natural gas gained one cent to $3.84 per 1,000 cubic feet.


Pablo Gorondi in Budapest and Pamela Sampson in Bangkok contributed to this report.