Oil Prices Barely Budge Ahead Of US Jobs Report
By PAMELA SAMPSON
BANGKOK (AP) â¿¿ The price of oil fell Friday as weak growth in China's manufacturing failed to impress and more people filed for unemployment benefits in the U.S.
Benchmark oil for March delivery was down 16 cents to $97.33 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 45 cents to close at $97.49 a barrel on the Nymex on Thursday.
Two surveys released Friday showed China's manufacturing activity expanded in January, but growth was weak.The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said its purchasing managers' index stood at 50.4. That represented a slowdown in growth from the prior month's reading of 50.6. Separately, HSBC Corp. said its PMI stood at 52.3 on a similar 100-point scale, up from December's 51.5. Numbers above 50 indicate expansion. The U.S. government said Thursday that unemployment claims rose sharply last week. High unemployment drags on the U.S. economy, leading to lower demand for crude and falling energy prices. Traders will get a further indication about the strength of the jobs market Friday, when the Labor Department issues the monthly nonfarm payrolls report. The report is expected to show steady jobs growth. "If non-farm payrolls increased in January by more than December's 155,000 gain, it seems likely that oil prices will strengthen in response," said Caroline Bain, commodities analyst for The Economist Intelligence Unit. However, she said that significant or permanent price hikes are not expected because the market is well supplied and U.S. stockpiles are high. Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, fell 10 cents to $115.45 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London. In other energy futures trading on Nymex: â¿¿ Wholesale gasoline lost 1.7 cents to $3.015 per gallon. â¿¿ Natural gas fell 4.4 cents to $3.301 per 1,000 cubic feet. â¿¿ Heating oil fell 0.8 cent to $3.112 a gallon.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV