Oil fell toward $58 a barrel on Monday, reversing some of the previous session's near 3 percent gains, as investors took profit amid warnings that any global recovery will only be gradual.

Oil rose more than 3 percent on Friday to touch a near six-month high as economic data showed fewer-than-expected jobs were lost in April and stress test results lifted some uncertainty over the health of major American banks.

U.S. crude fell 47 cents to $58.16 a barrel by 0533 GMT (1:33 a.m. EDT). The contract rose $1.92 to settle at $58.63 on Friday.

London Brent crude fell 31 cents to $57.83.

Oil prices are driven by perceptions that the economic outlook is less pessimistic that previously thought. But the growth numbers we could be seeing from developed economies may not justify such price levels, said David Moore, a commodities strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Still, encouraging news from China, the world's third-largest economy, helped support oil at above $58 a barrel.

A top China central banker said the government's stimulus plan has worked better than expected, while crude imports data showed a spike in demand.

China, for the years the world's factory floor, plays a big part in the recovery scenario with many economies in Asia relying on Chinese demand and markets scrutinizing Beijing's data for any signs of global demand bottoming out.

Oil, which has plummeted from a record of over $147 a barrel in July, has risen over the past three months on hopes that the economic recession may be easing.

A strong rally in equities markets, which saw the Nasdaq cap its longest stretch of weekly gains in a decade on Friday, has also helped oil prices gain over 14 percent so far this month and 10 percent last week.

The U.S. economy is expected to begin growing in the second half of this year, while the jobless rate is expected to peak in the first quarter of 2010, according to a survey of top forecasters released on Sunday.

U.S. employers cut 539,000 jobs last month, the fewest since October, signaling the economy's steep decline might be easing and giving the stock market a boost.

The steady upward trend in oil's trading range and the current dynamic is likely to be sufficient to stay OPEC's hand at the next meeting, Barclays Capital said in a research note on Friday.

OPEC is not expected to cut output in its coming meeting on May 28 for political reasons, a Kuwaiti oil official said in remarks published on Sunday.

Analysts said a rebound in the U.S. dollar, which fell to a four-month low on Friday, also posed as a downside risk for oil.

Crude oil speculators on the New York Mercantile Exchange shifted to a net short position in the week to May 5, according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission released on Friday.

(Editing by Ben Tan)