Oil stood at just below $58 a barrel on Friday, off session highs, lifted partly by more positive data on the health of some major economies that could ultimately translate into increased demand for oil.

U.S. crude rose $1.14 to $57.85 a barrel by 1242 GMT (8:42 a.m. EDT). It touched a six-month high of $58.57 on Thursday. Brent crude was up $1.17 at $57.64.

The pace of job losses slowed in April in the United States, according to government data, providing further evidence to support the view that the economic climate might be improving.

U.S. employers cut a smaller-than-expected 539,000 jobs in April, the smallest amount since October, but the unemployment rate rose to 8.9 percent, its highest since September 1983.

Economists polled by Reuters predicted that 590,000 jobs were axed in the United States in April, versus a loss of 663,000 in the previous month.

European shares were up after results of stress tests on U.S. banks showed no unexpected weaknesses.

People got optimistic (after the test results) because it wasn't as bad as they thought it would be, said Tony Nunan, risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo.

Oil has gained more than 70 percent from a low of $33.55 in February, rallying with equity markets on hopes of economic recovery and also in response to oil supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Macro-economic data on major economies has begun to look less gloomy.

U.S. retailers on Thursday posted better-than-expected monthly sales results for a second straight month in April.

German exports posted their first rise in 6 months in March, according to the country's Federal Statistics Office on Friday.

The risk for investors is that some markets have got ahead of themselves and could be vulnerable should the flow of positive economic data start to deteriorate, Barclays Capital said in a research note.

The bank noted that data on oil demand remains mixed and the market's inventory overhang is still huge.

If the recent bout of positive sentiment subsides, prices might well go through a phase of consolidation in the mid-50s, it said.

(Reporting by Jane Merriman, Maryelle Demongeot and Alex Lawler; Editing by Keiron Henderson)