Oil Jumps After Stocks Cut Into Big Losses

NEW YORK (AP) -

The price of oil had a sudden burst Monday after the stock market tried to put the brakes on a four-day skid.

Benchmark oil for August delivery rose $1.49, to close at $95.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil sank by $4.55 a barrel, or 4.7 percent, on Thursday and Friday after the Federal Reserve spooked investors by signaling the end of a bond-buying program that has boosted the economy.

Oil fell initially Monday because of growing worries that China’s decision to clamp down on informal lending could hamper growth in a major energy-consuming country. Oil dropped as low as $92.67 a barrel.

Once stocks clawed back from their lowest levels of the day, oil moved higher, gaining nearly $2 a barrel in two hours. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 250 points in the first half-hour of trading Monday, then finished with a loss of 140 points.

There is better news at the gas pump, where many U.S. drivers are paying less to fill up. The national average for a gallon of gas dropped 4 cents in the past week, to $3.57. States where prices had spiked because of refinery outages realized significant relief. The average price in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin fell more than 20 cents a gallon compared with the previous Monday.

Prices are going the other way in California. The average price rose to $4.07 a gallon, from $3.98 a week ago.

Brent crude, which is used to price oil used by many U.S. refineries to make gasoline, rose 25 cents to finish at $101.16 a barrel.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

  •  Wholesale gasoline lost 2 cents to end at $2.74 a gallon.
  •  Heating oil rose 1 cent to finish at $2.85 per gallon.
  •  Natural gas slipped 3 cents to finish at $3.74 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Metals prices closed broadly lower Monday.

Gold for August delivery fell $14.90, or 1.2 percent, to settle at $1,277.10 an ounce.

Other metals fell even more. Silver for July delivery slumped 46.6 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $19.493 an ounce. July platinum fell $40.40, or 2.9 percent, to $1,329.10 an ounce, and September palladium fell $17.10, or 2.5 percent, to $657.65 an ounce.

July copper fell 7.10 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $3.0245 a pound.

In agricultural futures trading, July wheat fell 19 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $6.79 a bushel. December corn fell 9.75 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $5.465, and November soybeans were flat at $12.735 a bushel.