Crude futures closed higher today, but stopped just short of reclaiming triple-digit territory. Traders were encouraged by an austerity accord among Greek lawmakers, which bolstered hopes for an imminent bailout of the cash-strapped country. Meanwhile, here at home, an upbeat report on jobless claims also sparked some optimism regarding future energy demand. Crude oil for March delivery wrapped up the day on a gain of $1.13, or 1.1%, at $99.84 per barrel.
Gold futures also caught a lift, with the precious metal taking its cues from the currency markets. Policymakers in England and Europe opted to hold steady with ultra-low interest rates, and the U.S. dollar declined against its foreign rivals as the Greek austerity pact lessened safe-haven demand for the greenback. By the close, April-dated gold was up $9.90, or 0.6%, at $1,741.20 per ounce.
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