Oil jumps on Middle East worries, economic hopes
By Robert Gibbons
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rose a seventh straight session on Thursday, reaching an eight-week high, as Middle East tensions reinforced concern about potential supply disruptions while strong corporate earnings lifted investor optimism.
Brent jumped more than 2 percent and U.S. crude rallied 3 percent the day before the U.S. August contract expires.
Brent posted the biggest percentage rise over seven consecutive sessions, 10 percent, since early July.
"The complex surged to the upside largely on geopolitical issues related to a renewed clash of rhetoric between Israel and Iran and civil unrest in Syria," Jim Ritterbusch, president at Ritterbusch & Associates, wrote in a note.
Wednesday's attack that claimed the lives of top officials in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle and the Bulgarian bus bombing that killed Israeli tourists -- an act Israel blamed on Iran -- reinforced fears that oil shipments could be disrupted.
Brent September crude jumped $2.64 to settle at $107.80 a barrel, having reached $108.18, the highest price since front-month Brent hit $109.36 on May 22.
U.S. August crude rose $2.79 to settle at $92.66 a barrel, having swung from $89.86 to $92.90, the highest front-month intraday price since crude hit $93.01 on May 22.
U.S. September crude tacked on $2.80 to settle at $92.97 a barrel. Continued...