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BP, Shell, Cairn Energy and Amec decline as oil prices retreat

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Oil prices and equities retreated after today’s US employment data fell well short of expectations, revealing that the jobless rate rose to the highest level in seven months.

The report from the US Labor Department showed a modest gain of 39,000 in non-farm payrolls in November, while analysts expected to see an increase of well over 100,000.

The unemployment rate was projected to hold steady at 9.7%, instead, it increased to 9.8%.

The update delivered a blow to recovery hopes that were driving the markets over the past few days, sparked by strong manufacturing data released in Europe, the US and China.

Signs of a weakening economic recovery also signal that energy demand will rise at a slower pace, pressuring oil futures.

US light, sweet crude for January delivery fell to US$87.65/barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), while February crude declined to US$88.10/barrel.

On the ICE Exchange, January Brent Crude last traded at US$90.48/barrel. Brent for February delivery stood at US$90.47/barrel.

Supermajors BP (LON:BP) and Shell (LON:RDSB) declined marginally, as did Cairn Energy (LON:CNE).

BG Group (LON:BG) and Tullow Oil (LON:TLW) stood just above the opening level.

Amec (LON:AMEC) lost 1%, while fellow oil and gas engineering firm Petrofac (LON:PFC) posted a small gain.

Salamander Energy (LON:SMDR) led the midcaps, advancing 1.5%.

Premier Oil (LON:PMO) rose marginally.

Soco International (LON:SIA), Heritage Oil (LON:HOIL) and JKX Oil & Gas (LON:JKX) held steady.

Melrose Resources (LON:MRS) moved in the opposite direction, shedding 1.8%.

Service company Wood Group (LON:WG) was down 1%.

East and Central Africa operating oil and gas explorer Dominion Petroleum (LON:DPL) led the juniors, soaring 20%.

Energy sector focused investor Xtract Energy (LON:XTR) and North Sea oilfield developers Xcite Energy (LON:XEL) also did well, advancing 9% and 6.5% respectively.

Quick facts: Brent Crude Oil

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LSE:BRENT
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £0.00
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