Oil rises late, finishes week with small gain

AP News
Posted: Mar 22, 2013 4:29 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil finished the week with a gain as traders took their cue from rising stock markets while watching developments in the financial crisis in Cyprus.

Benchmark oil for May delivery rose $1.26, or 1.4 percent, to $93.71 a barrel. Most of that gain came Friday afternoon, allowing oil to post a small increase for the week.

The potential for a financial collapse in the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus has hung over both the stock and oil markets all week. On Friday, the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.7 percent as U.S. stock investors took advantage of this week's declines and got back into the market. Oil traders did likewise, erasing a loss from the day before.

Cypriot lawmakers were finalizing a new plan they hope will raise enough money to qualify the country for a bailout package and help it avoid financial ruin next week.

But there has been no indication it will be enough to satisfy the country's prospective creditors, its fellow eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund.

In the U.S., the average price for a gallon of gas held steady at $3.69 a gallon. That's 8 cents cheaper than a month ago and 19 cents below the price a year ago.

Brent crude, used to price many kinds of oil imported by U.S. refineries, fell 23 cents to $107.24 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 1 cents to $3.06 a gallon.

— Heating oil lost 1 cent to $2.97 a gallon.

— Natural gas dropped 1 cent to $3.93 per 1,000 cubic feet.


Pamela Sampson in Bangkok and Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.