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Crude oil prices up Friday

Feb. 17, 2012 at 5:23 PM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices were higher Friday, topping $103 a barrel, on optimism over a possible Greek bailout as equities headed higher around the world.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet, West Texas Intermediate crude added $1.22 to $103.53 per barrel. Nymex crude is up 4.6 percent for the week.

Home heating oil gave up 1.6 cents to $3.1937 per gallon. Reformulated gasoline shed 2.01 cents to $3.027 per gallon.

Stronger than expected economic data boosted market confidence.

Private housing starts rose 1.5 percent in December, the U.S. Commerce Department said. The Labor Department stoked the optimism with a report that weekly unemployment claims fell to 348,000, the second lowest total since 2008.

Henry Hub natural gas prices gained 9.1 cents to $2.658 per million British thermal unit and the Energy Information Agency said the weekly drawdown hit 127 billion cubic feet, which was more than expected.

At the pump, the national average price of unleaded gasoline climbed to $3.529 per gallon Friday from Thursday's $3.523, AAA said.

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