Oil Bucks Downtrend To Eek Out Small Gain


NEW YORK, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose slightly on Friday, bouncing from near four-year lows even while marking a fourth straight weekly loss, as investors bought back into a market they said was oversold, and as fighting in Iraq increased political risk.

Oil has dropped over 25 percent since June on strong supply, signs of weak demand growth and indications that key oil producers, particularly Saudi Arabia, have a limited appetite to cut output to bolster prices.

"It's corrective," said Andy Lebow at Jefferies LLC. After a violent $15-a-barrel swing in just two weeks, the market is likely to test lows again before it's clear that a true bottom was hit," he said. "You can't say that the downtrend is definitively over."

Brent for December rose 34 cents to settle at $86.16 a barrel. The November Brent contract expired on Thursday.

U.S. November crude, rose 5 cents to settle at $82.75, its third weekly decline in a row.

Friday saw an inkling of economic optimism. U.S. stocks rose more than 1 percent in afternoon trading following a batch of solid earnings reports. European stock markets jumped the most in seven months after weeks of sharp losses.

"I think we'd need to see signs that Europe is in recession to go significantly further down," said Gene McGillian at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.


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