Oil ends down on profit-taking but still up strongly on week
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Friday as investors cashed out big weekly profits after a rally driven by disruptions to crude supplies and Wall Street's gains from U.S. economic data.
Prices turned negative soon after the release of weekly U.S. oil rig data by industry firm Baker Hughes that showed a 10th weekly drop in the rig count. The data was positive to oil, but traders and investors chose to lock in profits.
"I think a good part of the selling was due to cashing out of winning positions people had established earlier in the week," said David Thompson, executive vice-president at Powerhouse, a commodities-focused broker in Washington.
Brent crude settled down 19 cents at $35.10. It hit a high of $37 earlier, a peak since Jan. 5.
U.S. crude settled down 29 cents at $32.78 a barrel, after gaining almost $1.70 earlier.
For the week, Brent was up more than 6 percent after rising for four days. U.S. crude rose 11 percent on the week, its steepest weekly rise since August.
Oil was up from the start of the week after data showing a slide in shale crude output and strong gasoline demand in the United States. Also bolstering prices was a meeting scheduled for mid-March by at least four major oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, to discuss a production freeze at January's highs.
On Friday, the market initially surged on news that pipeline outages in Iraq and Nigeria will remove more than 800,000 barrels of crude per day from global supply for at least two weeks. The disruptions should offset recent increases to supply from Iran, analysts said. Continued...