NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Oil prices settled above $82 a barrel Monday, buoyed by a deadly terrorist strike on a Moscow subway and a slide in the U.S. dollar. The May delivery crude contract gained $2.17, or 2.7%, to settle at $82.17. The contract traded as high as $82.78 a barrel and never dipped below the $80 level during the trading session. The dollar was losing ground against a basket of currencies in the morning, as last week's news of a
eurozone agreement to back Greece helped soothe investors. The euro also got a lift after Greece announced a plan to sell seven-year bonds Monday. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, weakened 0.4%. Besides the dollar moves, Stephen Schork, analyst and editor of a commodities newsletter entitled The Schork Report, cited geopolitical events in Russia as another potential price driver, because crude is a primary export for the nation. About 100 Moscow commuters were killed or wounded after suicide bombers attacked two Moscow subway stations, The Associated Press reported. Schork also mentioned book-squaring at the end of the quarter as another mover, though he attempted to put Monday's price improvement in perspective. "We're still in more or less the same range we've been in for a while -- high 70s and low 80s," he said. "There is a large contingent on Wall Street that is expecting $85, $90, or $95 oil by the end of the year." Observers are also keeping tabs on Friday's jobs report, with many analysts predicting a bullish uptick in hiring during March. Recent consensus estimates are projecting a gain of 190,000 jobs for the month, according to Briefing.com. "God help us if we don't see that number, because we'll be set for a significant correction," Schork added. "But people are pricing it in and expecting it." Commodity-related stocks helped lead the broader averages higher on the back of soaring futures prices. Chevron ( CVX) and Exxon Mobil ( XOM) were among the Dow's best performing stocks. Chevron gained 80 cents, or 1.1%, to $75.23 while Exxon added 76 cents, or 1.1%, to $67.30. Shares across the oil sector ended the session broadly higher with Suncor Energy ( SU) up 4.3%, PetroChina ( PTR) higher by 2.2% and both Statoil ( STO) and Marathon Oil ( MRO) each up by more than 2%. The NYSE Arca Oil index gained 1.5%, while the Philadelphia Oil Service Sector index soared 1.9%. Two upgrades from Goldman Sachs garnered attention in the energy space Monday. Analysts put Southwestern Energy ( SWN) on its conviction list, upgrading the stock to buy from neutral, citing potential for natural gas growth. Shares of Patterson-UTI Energy ( PTEN) were also upgraded to neutral from sell, as analysts expect natural gas prices to bottom. Southwestern Energy added 8%, to $40.73, while Patterson-UTI rose 2.7% to $13.89. Natural gas companies also gained during the session even though natural gas for May delivery shed 1 penny, or 0.4%, to settle at $3.92 per million British thermal units. Anadarko Petroleum ( APC), Delta Petroleum ( DPTR) and Devon Energy ( DVN) advanced 3.1%, 2.8% and 2.2%, respectively. Elsewhere on the Nymex, May heating oil gained 5 cents, or 2.3%, to settle at $2.13 a gallon, while May gasoline improved 5 cents, or 2.5%, to settle at $2.26 a gallon. --Written by Sung Moss and Melinda Peer in New York.