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Crude oil slips but ends week with slight gain

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The price of oil stayed just above $100 a barrel Friday and finished the week with a small gain.

Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery fell 5 cents to close at $100.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, oil gained 42 cents.

Some economic indicators released during the week raised concerns about the strength of oil demand in the U.S. One report showed that cold weather caused U.S. retail sales to drop in January for a second straight month as Americans spent less on autos and clothing and at restaurants during a brutally cold month. Weekly jobless claims were also higher than expected.

Balancing those worries were forecasts for stronger global oil consumption this year from the International Energy Agency, the Organizations of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the Energy Information Administration.

At the gas pump in the U.S., the nationwide average price rose for a seventh straight day and is now at $3.34 a gallon.

Brent crude, which is used to set prices for international varieties of crude, rose 56 cents to $109.08 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading in New York:

— Wholesale gasoline added 3 cents to $2.81 per gallon.

— Heating oil added 5 cents to $3.08 a gallon.

— Natural gas gained fell 1 cent to $5.21 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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