U.S. oil hovered below $70 on Thursday after closing at its lowest in almost two months the previous session following an unexpected rise in crude oil stocks in top consumer the United States.

U.S. crude was down four cents at $69.22 a barrel by 4:36 a.m. EDT. Prices have fallen about 12 percent from their record high $78.77 on August 1.

London Brent crude gained 25 cents to $68.95.

Oil was knocked lower on Wednesday by weekly U.S. data showing a surprise increase in crude oil stocks.

Although stocks arguably remain too tight for comfort, futures markets are betting that prices will ease seasonally with the waning of the peak driving demand period, Antoine Halff, energy researcher at U.S.-based Fimat, said in a report.

But on Thursday, other commodity markets and equities were in a more positive mood.

Asian stock markets jumped 2 to 3 percent, aided by a rise in Wall Street overnight and Bank of America's $2 billion injection into a major U.S. mortgage lender, seen as a vote of confidence in the beleaguered sector.

In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of European shares and London's FTSE 100 index were up around one percent.

Providing some support to oil was the possibility of delays to Mexican crude supplies to U.S. refiners in the wake of Hurricane Dean.

State oil firm Pemex shut 80 percent of the country's output in advance of the hurricane. Shell Oil Co. cut crude runs at its Deer Park venture.

Pemex said it would begin to restore output on Friday and that operations would be at 80 percent by early next week if there was no major damage from Dean..

Barclays Capital technical analysts, who study charts to determine future price direction, put support for U.S. oil near $68 and near-term resistance at $70.15.

A break below...however, would resume the downtrend toward $66.70 or even $64.60, the bank said in a research note.

(Additional reporting by Angela Moon in Seoul)