Oil prices steady, on pace for weekly gains amid escalating Middle East tensions



Oil futures were little changed on Friday morning, with the Brent and WTI prices on track for weekly gains after escalating Middle East tensions contributed to a significant rise in the prices of crude-oil benchmarks.

Price moves

  • West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery 
    CL00,
    -0.18%

    CL.1,
    +5.26%

    CLH24,
    -0.18%
    dropped 4 cents, or less than 0.1%, to trade at $76.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

  • April Brent crude
    BRN00,
    -0.31%

    BRNJ24,
    -0.31%,
     the global benchmark, was off 19 cents, or 0.2%, to trade at $81.47 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

  • March gasoline
    RBH24,
    -0.32%
     was little change, at $2.34 a gallon, while March heating oil 
    HOH24,
    +0.01%
     added 0.1%, to $2.89 a gallon.

  • Natural gas for March delivery 
    NGH24,
    -3.55%
    fell by 7 cents, or 3.5%, to trade at $1.85 per million British thermal units.

Market Drivers

The Brent crude price remained above the $80-a-barrel threshold on Friday morning after advancing over 3% in the previous session as Israel launched new air strikes in Gaza, while rejecting a Hamas offer for a cease-fire in the region and return of hostages held in the Gaza Strip.

The Brent’s moves back above the $81-per-barrel level could trigger “a bit of nervousness about inflationary pressures,” said a team of Deutsche Bank strategists led by Jim Reid, in a Friday client note. Investors awaited revisions to last year’s U.S. CPI data, which some analysts said may have the potential to rattle or boost the stock market.

Two out of three U.S. stock benchmarks carved out fresh records on Thursday afternoon, with the S&P 500 briefly eclipsing the 5,000-point milestone for the first time ever, according to FactSet data.



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