The price of oil rose Monday, taking its cue from the stock market and the dollar.
Benchmark oil for June delivery gained 69 cents to close at $96.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Oil moved higher as U.S. stock markets reversed early losses around midday. Although stocks slipped in the afternoon, a weak dollar propped up oil prices.
Since oil is traded in dollars, a weaker dollar makes crude and other commodities more appealing to investors holding other currencies. The euro rose to $1.2897 from $1.2829 Friday. The dollar fell to 102.29 yen from 103.18 Friday.
Traders will watch economic reports later in the week for clues about the health of the world’s two biggest economies. The U.S. government will release home sales and durable goods orders for April, and HSBC will release its monthly survey on China’s manufacturing growth.
Analysts are also awaiting testimony Wednesday from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Of special interest are any possible hints that the Fed might be preparing to scale back its loose monetary policy because recent data has pointed toward a sustained economic recovery.
At the pump, the average price for a gallon of gas is at $3.65 for the first time since late March. Unplanned refinery downtime in the Midwest has caused supply shortages and sent gas prices soaring in Minnesota, North Dakota and a few other states.
The average price in Minnesota is $4.275, up from $3.44 a month ago. The average in North Dakota is $4.23, compared with $3.78 just a week earlier.
Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oil varieties, rose 16 cents to $104.80 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline was flat at $2.91 a gallon.
— Heating oil rose 1 cent to $2.95 a gallon.
— Natural gas gained 4 cents to $4.09 per 1,000 cubic feet.