Oil rallied again on Friday as encouraging earnings news from Ford (F) fueled hopes for improved energy demand. A weaker U.S. dollar also supported crude's hedge value.
Light sweet crude oil for June delivery rallied to $51.55, up $1.93 on the session. Prices touched as high as $51.60 in the early going. With the rally, oil climbed further away from the monthly-low seen Monday.
Stocks rallied in the U.S. and Europe after struggling automaker Ford (F) reported a net loss was sharply narrower than expected in the first quarter. The company reported a first-quarter net loss of $1.4 billion or $0.60 per share, compared to a loss of $1.23 per share expected by analysts.
The dollar tumbled to a new multi-week low against the yen and an 11-day low against the euro and the franc as ongoing concerns about the U.S. stress tests on banks prompted investors to sell the U.S. currency.
On the economic front, Commerce Department report showed that durable goods orders fell 0.8 percent in March following a downwardly revised 2.1 percent increase in February. Economists had expected orders to fall 1.5 percent compared to the 3.5 percent increase that had been reported for the previous month.
Later, a separate Commerce Department report showed new home sales fell 0.6 percent to an annual rate of 356,000 in March from a revised February rate of 358,000. Economists had expected new home sales to remain unchanged compared to the 337,000 originally reported for the previous month.
Earlier in the week, EIA data showed U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased by 3.9 million barrels in the week ended April 17. Experts were looking for a build of about 3 million barrels for the week. At 370.6 million barrels, inventories are at the highest level in almost 19 years.
Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 800,000 barrels last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.7 million barrels and propane/propylene inventories increased by 600,000 barrels.
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