Oil Prices Fluctuate After Brisk Rally


LONDON—Oil prices were switching between gains and losses on Friday, pausing after a brisk rally that vaulted major crude benchmarks back above $40 a barrel.

Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, fell 0.1% to $41.48 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 0.2% at $40.26 a barrel.

A stronger U.S. dollar added downward pressure on prices, with the Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of other currencies, rising 0.3%. As oil is priced in dollars, it becomes more expensive for holders of other currencies as the greenback appreciates.

The breather comes on the heels of a brisk rally on Thursday, which took WTI crude up 4.5% to above $40 a barrel for the first time this year. The benchmark U.S. contract has jumped 19% in March. (by GEORGI KANTCHEV and DAN STRUMPF, Wall Street Journal)