Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Oil surges again, tops $99

oil pricesClick chart for other commodity prices. By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Oil prices climbed Tuesday as the volatile situation in Libya continued to fuel worries about wider unrest across the Middle East.

The benchmark U.S. oil contract, West Texas Intermediate for April delivery, surged $2.66, or 2.7%, to settle at $99.63 a barrel. The contract rose to a high of $99.77 a barrel earlier in the session.

In electronic trading, crude prices topped $100 barrel again late Tuesday afternoon, after jumping above that level last week for the first time since 2008.

Brent crude, the main European contract, was up $3.25 to $115.19 a barrel.

The oil market has been on edge since anti-government protests in Libya devolved into violent conflict last week, with Moammar Gadhafi clinging to power in the North African nation's capitol, Tripoli.

Libya is the first oil-exporting nation to be embroiled in the political upheaval that toppled regimes this year in Egypt and Tunisia. But traders are more worried about growing conflict in the Middle East, following protests in Yemen, Bahrain and Oman.

Oil prices averaged just over $90 a barrel last month, compared with $76.45 a barrel in February 2010.

"February 2011 seemed to be one of the most unpredictable and volatile months in a long time, based on ongoing tensions across the Middle East and North Africa," said Myrto Sokou, an energy analyst at Sucden Financial, in a research report.

Meanwhile, oil prices were also supported by a report that showed U.S. manufacturing activity rose in February to the highest level in nearly seven years.

The recent spike in oil prices has driven up gas prices, raising concerns that a sustained period of high prices at the pump could hurt the still fragile economy.

Gas prices jumped 20 cents in the last eight days of February, but prices were up only moderately Tuesday in a daily survey by motorist group AAA.  To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.87%3.83%
15 yr fixed3.07%3.06%
5/1 ARM3.10%3.12%
30 yr refi3.87%3.83%
15 yr refi3.07%3.07%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 21,010.32 246.43 1.19%
Nasdaq 6,026.32 42.50 0.71%
S&P 500 2,389.04 14.89 0.63%
Treasuries 2.31 0.04 1.67%
Data as of 12:19pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 24.24 0.61 2.58%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 12.98 0.75 6.14%
Express Scripts Hold... 58.98 -8.27 -12.30%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 5.44 0.06 1.14%
Advanced Micro Devic... 13.48 0.35 2.67%
Data as of 12:04pm ET

Sections

Coke is laying off workers as the company continues to adapt to changing consumer tastes. The company reported a big drop in sales and profits and the incoming CEO is promising to make more changes to get Coke back on track. More

President Trump is hitting Canada with tariffs -- an unlikely first target for someone who made trade a center piece to his 2016 campaign. More

Marissa Mayer, who has failed to turn Yahoo around in five years as CEO, will walk away with $186 million after its sale to Verizon. More

Don't panic if your child didn't get the big scholarship you'd hoped for. Here are seven other ways to lower the cost of college. More