Oil settled slightly higher Friday as investors weighed the latest economic data and the planned release of 60 million barrels of oil onto the world market.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery rose 14 cents to settle at $91.16 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude, which is used in many international blends, fell $2.14 to settle at $105.12 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Analysts said investors and money managers were still sorting out their positions following Thursday's surprise announcement from the International Energy Agency. The 28-nation group, which includes the U.S., plans to release 2 million barrels per day for a month. The release is intended to cover shortfalls in global markets following the uprising in Libya. Libya exported about 1.5 million barrels of oil per day before the unrest.
U.S. economic news headed in a positive direction Friday. The government said that the economy grew at a rate of 1.9 percent in the first quarter, slightly higher than the 1.8 percent rate estimated a month ago. The Commerce Department also said there were more orders from businesses last month for durable goods such as machinery, electronics and aircraft.
In other Nymex trading for July contracts, heating oil lost 3.05 cents to settle at $2.7689 per gallon and gasoline futures gave up 6.05 cents to settle at $2.7159 per gallon. Natural gas added 3.6 cents to settle at $4.229 per 1,000 cubic feet.