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 fixed3.78%3.79%
15 yr fixed2.98%2.93%
5/1 ARM3.06%2.99%
30 yr refi3.85%3.85%
15 yr refi3.05%3.00%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,080.14 21.45 0.12%
Nasdaq 5,092.09 36.02 0.71%
S&P 500 2,117.69 4.76 0.23%
Treasuries 1.92 -0.03 -1.54%
Data as of 3:46am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Microsoft Corp 47.87 4.53 10.45%
Apple Inc 130.28 0.61 0.47%
Comcast Corp 59.64 0.41 0.69%
AT&T Inc 34.01 -0.22 -0.64%
Xerox Corp 11.99 -1.15 -8.75%
Data as of Apr 24

Sections

A major earthquake was the last thing Nepal needed. Even before one of the country's major fault lines rumbled to life, the country was beset by challenges. More

Stars of Youtube, Vine, Snapchat, and Twitter are attending this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner. More

A Girl Scouts Cookie Oven rolling out to Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart stores this summer will let you bake those iconic thin mints right at home. More