Crude oil nears two-week highs after US stocks advance

US equities gained for the sixth straight day – kicking off the start of the quarterly earnings season on a positive note. Crude oil prices have risen by over two dollars, past US$77 to near two-week highs as stocks advance in US markets, spreading optimism of an economic recovery improves in USA that will stoke fuel demand. Prices also rose as the International Energy Agency forecast oil demand will increase 1.6% in 2011 to average 87.8 million bpd. Estimate for 2010 were unchanged with a demand growth rate of 2.1% to an average 87.8 million bpd. US crude stockpiles increased 1.74 million barrels to 353.5 million last week, according to a report from the American Petroleum Institute. Results are expected in the coming days from Google, General Electric, Citigroup, Bank of America, Intel and JPMorgan Chase.
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