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Oil prices jump above $138

New York, June 8, IRNA - Oil prices had their biggest gains ever jumping nearly $11 to a new record above $138 a barrel after the dollar fell sharply against the euro.

The unprecedented gains on Friday capped a second day of strong gains on energy markets, and fueled suspicions that commodities might be caught in a speculative bubble.

Oil futures surged $10.75, or 8 percent, to $138.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The record gain followed a jump of 5.5 percent on Thursday, bringing total two-day gains to $16 a barrel.

Stocks fell sharply. The Dow Jones industrials fell 394.64 points, or 3.1 percent, to close at 12,209.81. The S&P 500 Index plunged 43.37, or 3.1 percent, to 1,360.68, and the Nasdaq composite index sank 75.38 to 2,474.56. Chevron Corp. was the only stock that rose on the blue-chip index.

The latest jump in oil prices also came amid bleak economic news that fanned recession fears on Friday.

The unemployment rate surged to 5.5 percent last month, the government said, the biggest increase in more than two decades.

Investors reacted to the latest forecast by a large Wall Street bank that oil prices would spike to $150 a barrel in the next month because of strong demand from Asian economies.

Analysts said that the threat of a strike by Chevron's workers in Nigeria could lead to "considerable" shutdowns of Nigerian production.

A similar strike by Exxon Mobil workers last April, which lasted a week, reduced Nigerian output by 800,000 barrels a day, or nearly a third of the country's daily exports.

... Payvand News - 06/08/08 ... --

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