March crude oil fell by 1.3 percent Friday on news that longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned and ceded his powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman and the country's military.
Mubarak's resignation followed a dramatic three weeks of protests throughout the North African country. Although it is unclear how successful Egypt will be in adopting a democratic system of government, investors found reason to believe that a period of relative calm will ensue and disruptions to oil shipments from the Mideast will be less likely.
Front-month crude settled at $85.58 a barrel, a $1.15 decline from Thursday. It peaked at $87.77 and bottomed out at $85.10. Compared to Monday's settlement price, oil is down 2.2 percent for the week.
Natural gas for March delivery settled below $4.00 for the second straight day Friday. The eight-cent day-on-day loss to $3.91 per thousand cubic feet stems from early signs winter is giving way to spring in much of the continental U.S. Forecasters predict that considerably milder weather will extend from the West to the Southeast early next week, with much of the Northeast basking in warmer temperatures by midweek.
March natural gas traded within a range from $3.90 to $3.98 Friday. It has fallen 4.6 percent since Monday.
March gasoline remained flat at $2.47 a gallon Friday after fluctuating from $2.46 to $2.50. It is up less than one percent for the week.
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