Oil futures little changed ahead of US jobs report

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The price of oil was in a holding pattern Friday ahead of a key monthly U.S. jobs report.

Benchmark U.S. oil for July delivery was down 4 cents to $102.44 a barrel at 0845 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped 16 cents to $102.48 a barrel on Thursday.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose 29 cents to $109.07 a barrel.

Economists are expecting the U.S. government's job report to show that employers added 220,000 jobs in May after adding 288,000 in April. Unemployment is forecast to inch up to 6.4 percent as more people hunt for work.

A strengthening job market would be in important sign of recovery in the world's biggest economy, which also translates into higher demand for energy.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline up 0.6 cent at $2.962 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 2 cents to $4.72 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil gained 0.8 cent to $2.887 a gallon.

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