Oil drifts slightly up, remains near $96 a barrel

Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) — The price of oil rose slightly Monday, extending gains posted late last week on the heels of a positive U.S. employment report.

Benchmark oil for July delivery rose 5 cents to $96.08 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract for benchmark crude rose $1.27 to close at $96.03 a barrel on the Nymex on Friday.

Oil markets were being carried by a small swell of optimism triggered by better-than-expected jobs numbers out of the U.S. on Friday. The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in May — a steady pace that shows strength in the face of tax increases and government spending cuts.

"After a sharp rebound from last Friday, they continuously extended the gains," Ken Hasagawa, energy analyst at Newedge brokerage in Tokyo, said Monday of oil prices.

Gains in energy prices were reflective of the latest upswing in stock markets. The Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial average both rose more than 1 percent on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 clocked a 3.8 percent gain in Tokyo on Monday.

Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oil varieties, rose 7 cents to $104.63 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline rose 1.3 cents to $2.8842 a gallon.

— Heating oil gained 0.6 cents to $2.8995 per gallon.

— Natural gas fell 1 cent at $3.818 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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