Oil slips on stimulus concerns

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil fell slightly Friday as investors weighed the possibility that the Federal Reserve might end its extraordinary economic stimulus measures later this year.

Benchmark crude for February delivery fell 6 cents to $92.86 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The Labor Department reported U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December, a steady gain that shows hiring held up during the tense negotiations to resolve the fiscal cliff. The solid job growth wasn't enough to push down the unemployment rate, however, which remained at 7.8 percent last month.

Also, the Institute for Supply Management said U.S. service firms' activity expanded in December by the most in nearly a year, driven by a jump in new orders and hiring. The index measures growth in industries that cover 90 percent of the workforce, including retail, construction, health care and financial services.

Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, was down 91 cents to $111.23 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

— Wholesale gasoline lost 4 cents to $2.76 a gallon.

— Heating oil fell 2 cents to $3.01 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 6 cents to $3.27 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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