U.S. crude oil futures on Monday gained more than $1 from the previous close as weak U.S. jobs data did little to dampen investors' improved appetite for risk and their expectation of a global economic recovery.
U.S. light crude for May delivery were up $1.08 at $53.59 a barrel by 0502 GMT. The contract ended 13 cents lower to settle at $52.51 on Friday, as a bounce in Wall Street countered an earlier slide set off by gloomy jobs data.
London Brent crude rose 71 cents to $54.18 a barrel.
Markets are having greater optimism about the international economy and that is giving a lift to the commodities markets, said David Moore, a commodities strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
The fact that investors had shrugged off the gloomy jobs data on Friday is indicative that the focus has now shifted to a global recovery.
Although crude oil prices have risen roughly 16 percent so far this year, they are still about 63 percent below their high of more than $147 a barrel last July.
U.S. stocks rose on Friday, with the Dow closing out its best four-week winning streak since 1933, lifted by robust results from Research in Motion and after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank would do everything it could to stabilize banks. <.N>
The gains came despite government data showing U.S. employers slashed 663,000 jobs in March, lifting the unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 8.5 percent. Some analysts said the jobless number came in within expectations and had already been priced in.
Analysts said investors may attempt to push oil toward the $55 mark this week, should U.S. stocks should rally further on signs that the economic slump is abating and if earnings season does not get off to a rocky start.
Oil rose nearly 11 percent last month and snapped two straight quarters of double-digit decline to rally 9.5 percent in the first quarter, thanks to a rally in global stock markets and OPEC's production cuts.
Crude oil speculators on the New York Mercantile Exchange decreased net long positions in the week to March 31, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday.
(Reporting by Fayen Wong and Angela Moon in SEOUL; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)