Oil prices in the U.S. closed Thursday at their highest mark since March, settling at more than $40 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The increase in oil futures came after better-than-expected U.S. job growth in June.
The U.S. added 4.8 million jobs in June and the unemployment rate fell for the second straight month to 11.1%, according to government data released Thursday reported Market Watch.
“A strong U.S. nonfarm payroll report suggests the U.S. economic rebound continues and that crude demand should follow suit,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a market update.
West Texas Intermediate crude for August rose 83 cents or 2.08% to settle at $40.65 a barrel after making a 1.4% gain on Wednesday.
For the holiday-shortened week, oil saw a weekly gain of 5%, based on the most-active contract close last Friday, according to FactSet data.
Brent futures finished up 77 cents or 1.83% and settled at $42.80 in the ICE futures Europe.
Natural gas was up 6 cents or 4% to finish the day at $1.73 per MMBtu.
Several oil and gas firms saw an increase in their shares with Marathon Oil increasing 17 cents or 2.85% to end the day at $6.12 a share.
Devon Energy finished up 1.2% or 14 cents a share at $11.24. ConocoPhillips ended Thursday’s trading up 2.5% or $1.04 a share at $41.78.
EOG Resources was up 66 cents or 1.3% and finished trading at $50.52. ONEOK and Phillips 66 ended the day down. ONEOK dropped 3 cents and settled at $32.15 while Phillips 66 fell 69 cents or 1% to end at $68.42.
In the Utilities sector, American Electric Power added 52 cents to finish the day at $82.52.