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Stocks rebound modestly as oil price rise eases

NEW YORK — Wall Street steadied itself Thursday after two sessions of steep declines, rebounding moderately as oil prices stepped back from their frenetic upward run.

Oil set another trading record overnight — moving above $135 per barrel for the first time — then pulled back below $131, offering some relief for stock investors. Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the number of workers seeking unemployment benefits declined by 9,000 last week to 365,000. The market expected a slight increase.

But the economic fallout from rising energy prices remained Wall Street’s focus.

“People are concerned about the economy and what’s happening with oil,” said Scott Fullman, director of derivatives investment strategy for WJB Capital Group in New York, referring to the advance in stocks.

Fullman predicted the markets will remain jittery, and said the low trading volumes Thursday indicate the gains are coming without much conviction.

Bond prices fell sharply Thursday. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.92 percent from 3.81 percent late Wednesday.

Light, sweet crude fell $2.36 to settle at $130.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, pulling back from an earlier record of just above $135.

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