By PAMELA SAMPSONAP Business Writer
BANGKOK (AP) - Oil prices were nearly unchanged Friday, hovering below $108 per barrel, as traders awaited a key jobs report out of the U.S.
Benchmark crude for September delivery fell 2 cents to $107.87 per barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $2.86 a barrel Thursday, or 2.7 percent, to close at $107.89 per barrel in New York.
Oil prices rose early in Asia, fueled by the same optimism that pushed Wall Street to new highs Thursday, following the release of data that showed U.S. manufacturing jumped to 55.4 in July, up from 50.9 in June and well above an expected reading of 51.8. A number above 50 indicates growth.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial average both set record highs, and the S&P 500 crossed the 1,700 mark for the first time.
On Friday, hiring figures for July will be released, then examined for hints about future energy demand in the world's No. 1 economy. In a commentary, Michael Hewson of CMC Markets said that report "could well add the final flourish to a record week, and a perfect start to August."
Brent crude, traded on the ICE Futures exchange in London, fell 22 cents to $109.32 per barrel.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:
- Heating oil fell 0.2 cents to $3.095 a gallon.
- Natural gas fell 1.8 cents to $3.369 per 1,000 cubic feet.
- Wholesale gasoline fell 1.3 cents to $3.0159 a gallon.
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