Oil Tops $81


"Crude oil surged above $81 a barrel for the first time since May."

Crude oil surged above $81 a barrel for the first time since May as a rally in global equity markets increased speculation the economy is strengthening.

Oil jumped 3% after equities climbed on better-than- expected earnings and as the Institute for Supply Management's U.S. manufacturing gauge fell less than forecast. The dollar dropped against the euro, boosting the investment appeal of commodities.

"Oil is following the S&P 500," said Adam Sieminski, chief energy economist at Deutsche Bank AG in Washington. "Fundamentals don't seem to matter. You don't need to be an oil analyst anymore. You just need to be a stock market analyst."

Crude oil for September delivery rose $2.39 to $81.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since May 4. Futures climbed 4.4% in July, the biggest monthly gain since March. Prices are up 17% from a year ago.

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