Investors sold out of the dollar, a traditional "safe haven" during a recession, and bought riskier assets, including commodities and equities. The dollar hit a two-week low against the euro earlier in the day, while European and Asian equities were generally higher.
U.S. stock futures received a similar boost after the Commerce Department reported a bigger drop in new jobless claims than economists had expected. At 521,000, the number of initial claims was at its lowest since Jan. 3.
"Oil traders are looking at anything as an indicator that the recession is fading," said Addison Armstrong, an analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Conn. "But we still have the fundamental issue of oversupply."
Economic indicators have had a milder impact on oil prices recently than on the dollar or equities. The dollar has regularly hit 2009 lows against the euro, and share indexes are near their highs for the year, while oil has remained close to the middle of a trading range between $65 and $75 a barrel.
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