Oil rises above US$50
Oil had a wild day.
Benchmark US crude rose US$2.03 to settle at US$50.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, continuing a volatile ride that has lasted for several weeks. On Wednesday, oil plunged US$4.60, or 8.7 per cent, to settle at US$48.45 a barrel the day before after the U.S. government reported an increase in crude inventories last week.
Few investors believe the turbulence in oil trading will end any time soon. While data earlier this week showed US production is slowing, this week's crude oil inventory levels tell a different story.
"We're starting to see some production shifts, but it's happening slowly," Santos said. "Oil is going to keep making these big swings until something is done to deal with all this oversupply."
Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose US$2.50 to US$56.66 a barrel in London.
In other energy commodities, wholesale gasoline rose 4.3 cents to close at US$1.525 a gallon; heating oil rose 3.9 cents to close at US$1.806 a gallon, and natural gas fell 6.2 cents to close at US$2.600 per 1,000 cubic feet.
The stock market also surged on Thursday, putting the Dow Jones industrial average on track for its best week since 2011.
Investors ploughed money back into stocks following a slump the week before, encouraged by a 4 per cent jump in the price of crude oil and Pfizer's US$16 billion deal to buy the drugmaker Hospira.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped more than 200 points, its third big gain this week. The Dow Jones industrial average is now up about 700 points, or 4 per cent, so far this week.
The Dow rose 211.86 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 17,884.88 on Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 21.01 points, or 1 per cent, to 2,062.52. The Nasdaq composite rose 48.39 points, or 1 per cent, to 4,765.10.
In other markets, US government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.81 per cent.
Gold fell US$1.80 to US$1,262.70 an ounce, silver fell 20 cents to US$17.20 an ounce and copper was flat at US$2.60 a pound.