Oil Settles Sharply Higher To Trim Year-to-date Loss

By Myra P. Saefong Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Oil prices settled higher Friday, with a sharp gain in the last few minutes of trading lifting them above $46 a barrel for the first time in more than two weeks. Data from Baker Hughes [s:bhi] released Friday showed the first decline in the number of active U.S. oil rigs in 24 weeks, raising expectations that domestic production will slow. August WTI crude tacked on $1.11, or 2.5%, to settle $46.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Year to date, prices have still lost more than 14%.

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