Tomahawk, VA 10/7/2011 (PennyPayDay) – Oil slipped closer to $82 a barrel Friday after a jump in weekly U.S. jobless claims stoked fears of another dour monthly employment report.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude was down 51 cents at $82.08 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped $2.91, or 3.7 percent, to finish at $82.59 per barrel in New York on Thursday.
In London, Brent crude was down 74 cents at $104.99 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Oil plummeted to 12-month lows earlier in the week but rebounded as European officials appeared to be ready to take more concerted action to contain the region's debt crisis.
Oil's rebound was eventually capped by a weekly jobs claims report in the U.S. that showed unemployment benefit applications rising 6,000 to 401,000
That figure suggests the closely watched report on U.S. monthly hiring due later Friday will show employers are still reluctant to add new employees. High unemployment in the U.S. has depressed consumer spending and demand for fuel.
"If the gain in non-farm payrolls prove disappointing, concerns about demand could soon predominate once more, bringing oil prices under pressure," said a report from Commerzbank in Frankfurt.
In other Nymex trading, heating oil fell 1.58 cents to $2.8453 per gallon and gasoline futures fell 2.3 cents to $2.6630 per gallon. Natural gas shed 3.9 cents to $3.559 per 1,000 cubic feet.