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

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.08%4.25%
15 yr fixed3.17%3.23%
5/1 ARM3.30%3.37%
30 yr refi4.06%4.19%
15 yr refi3.16%3.18%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,122.01 15.31 0.09%
Nasdaq 4,569.62 -1.02 -0.02%
S&P 500 2,000.12 0.10 0.00%
Treasuries 2.36 -0.03 -1.25%
Data as of 1:34am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.20 -0.13 -0.80%
Apple Inc 102.13 1.24 1.23%
Facebook Inc 74.63 -1.33 -1.75%
Yahoo! Inc 38.18 0.39 1.03%
Pfizer Inc 29.49 0.28 0.96%
Data as of Aug 27

Sections

Staggering interest from the Chinese in an immigration program has led the U.S. to run out of available visas for the first time ever. More

Former Fed chief Ben Bernanke believes the 2008 financial crisis was the worst in global history, topping even the Great Depression. More

Snapchat has gotten a $20 million funding round from Kleiner Perkins, valuing the company at $10 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. More

Utah State professor Michael Glauser cycled 4,000 miles this summer, visiting 100 entrepreneurs across the country. Here's a snapshot of how they grew their businesses. More

Five CNNMoney readers share stories about saving that you can learn from: What they would do differently if they had another chance. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.