Strong jobs report sends stocks, oil falling

NEW YORK (AP) — A strong jobs report shook up the financial markets on Friday.

U.S. employers added 295,000 jobs last month, the government said. That was more than economists were expecting and, combined with a drop in the unemployment rate, raised the likelihood of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates sooner than had previously been expected.


Energy firms scrambling to handle their debt


Energy companies whose collateral has shrunk as a result of the oil price slide are using different methods to deal with their debt: Some are refinancing with leveraged loans, others are selling bonds or stock or assets, Reuters reports.


US trade deficit in January falls 8.3 pct. to $41.8 billion

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit in January dropped sharply as both exports and imports fell.

The Commerce Department said Friday that the deficit fell 8.3 percent to $41.8 billion in January from $45.6 billion in December. The shrinking trade gap reflected a drop in exports, which fell $5.6 billion to $189.4 billion. Imports fell $9.4 billion to $231.1 billion.


Oil gains on worries about Libya, Iraq


Concerns about attacks on oil facilities in Libya and Iraq pushed oil prices higher early Friday. U.S. benchmark crude increased 10 cents to $50.86 a barrel, while London Brent was 50 cents higher at $60.98, Reuters reports.


US stocks edge higher; oil drops

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market closed slightly higher on Thursday as gains for utilities and financial stocks were largely offset by losses in energy and materials companies.

Kroger jumped after reporting better-than-expected earnings that were boosted in part by lower fuel costs. Joy Global, a manufacturer of mining equipment, fell sharply after it said that the worldwide plunge in commodity prices was hurting its business.

The price of U.S. oil fell Thursday on a stronger dollar, which makes oil, which is priced in dollars around the world, more expensive to holders of foreign currency.


Oil higher on Saudi comments, spending cuts

Comments from oil minister Ali al-Naimi that Saudi Arabia views oil prices as settling, along with news of continued spending cuts from oil companies like Exxon Mobil, appear to outweigh the news of a further build in U.S. stockpiles -- of 10.3 million barrels -- in supporting prices early Thursday.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 23 cents to $51.76 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.01 to settle at $51.53 a barrel on Wednesday.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, was up 36 cents to $60.93 in London.


WTI and natural gas higher

Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.01 Wednesday to settle at $51.53 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell 47 cents to $60.55 in London.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the market was driven by data showing oil that inventories at Cushing, Okla., the delivery point for the Nymex contract, increased less than expected.

In other trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 2.4 cents to close at $1.926 a gallon.

— Heating oil fell 3.9 cents to close at $1.901 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 5.7 cents to close at $2.769 per 1,000 cubic feet.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.


US services firms grow at faster pace in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. services firms' activity rose at a slightly faster rate in February, powered by hotels, restaurants and wholesalers.

But the decline in oil prices has hurt business for firms involved in drilling and construction.


Exxon CEO: Get used to lower oil prices

NEW YORK (AP) — Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson expects the price of oil to remain low over the next two years because of ample global supplies and relatively weak economic growth.

"People need to kinda settle in for a while," Tillerson said at the company's annual investor conference in New York.


Oil mixed ahead of stockpile numbers

Weak European economic data put pressure on international crude in trading early Wednesday, while the U.S. benchmark was slightly higher ahead of the release of weekly U.S. stockpile data.

According to a Bloomberg survey, the Energy Information Agency report was expected to show a gain in crude but a drop in gasoline and distillate inventories, said analyst Myrto Sokuo from Sucden Financial.


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