AP News

Energy futures rise broadly as demand increases


Energy futures rose broadly Friday on signs that demand for fuel was increasing. Metals prices were little changed and crop futures were mixed.

Crude oil briefly traded above $100 a barrel for the first time this year before settling slightly below that level on Friday.

U.S. crude for March delivery rose $2.04, or 2.1 percent, to $99.88 a barrel the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Rising prices for wholesale gasoline and low supplies of heating oil and diesel were helping drive crude prices higher, energy analyst Stephen Schork said. That's a sign refiners will buy and process more crude to meet the demand.

A rising stock market also lifted crude prices as traders anticipated more demand for energy if the economy continues to improve. Stocks rose as investors found bright spots in the government's monthly jobs report, including solid gains in construction jobs, and on higher earnings from U.S. companies. The Standard & Poor's 500 index increased 1.3 percent.

Heating oil futures gained 6 cents to $3.05 a gallon. The Energy Department said Wednesday that supplies of distillates, which include heating oil and diesel, fell by 2.4 million barrels last week and are now 12 percent below where they were a year ago.

Wholesale gasoline futures increased 7 cents to $2.75. The contract has gained 15 cents, or 6 percent over the last three days.

Natural gas fell as forecasters predicted milder weather for the Midwest and Northeast. The price fell 15.6 cents, or 3 percent, to $4.78 per 1,000 cubic feet, bringing the two-day decline to 25 cents, or 5 percent.

Gold edged up $5.70 to $1,262.90 an ounce. Other metals prices also ended little changed.

Silver for March rose less than a penny to $19.94 an ounce. Palladium for the same month edged down $1.55 to $708.80 an ounce. Platinum for April increased $4.30 to $1,379.20 an ounce.

Copper for March delivery rose less than a penny to $3.24 a pound.

Agricultural futures ended mixed.

The actively traded March contract for soybeans edged up 6 cents to $13.32 a bushel. March wheat fell 3 cents to $5.78 a bushel. Corn for the same month rose a penny to $4.44 a bushel.


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