Oil prices up on holiday retail sales
Oil prices climbed above $98 per barrel Monday after shoppers pumped up holiday retail sales in the U.S., and investors bet that Europe would find a last-minute solution to its financial crisis. Benchmark crude rose $1.44 to end the day at $98.21 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price foreign oil - including much imported by U.S. refineries to make gasoline - rose $2.26 to finish at $108.02 a barrel in London. Benchmark oil has recovered much of the ground it lost since Nov. 16, when it hit $102.59 a barrel.