NEW YORK, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices gained Monday as traders awaited the start of U.S. companies' quarterly earnings reporting season.
With no major economic data due on Monday, the market was anticipating that the aluminum giant Alcoa would kick off the first-quarter earnings reporting season after the stock market closed in the day.
Traders were expecting improved profits from companies as the U. S. economy showed signs of improvement. Standard & Poor's 500 companies' profits are expected to have increased 1.6 percent from a year ago.
The worse-than-expected jobs report disclosed Friday followed a string of disappointing data last week, raising a concern that the pace of U.S. economic growth could be softening.
The unemployment rate of the United States dropped to 7.6 percent in March from 7.7 percent in February, with job creation growing at a slack pace, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
Traders believed that the loose monetary policy from central banks around the world could still underpin the global economic growth.
The minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's last meeting will be released Wednesday, which may lend support to the prospect for the Fed's continuous bond-buying stimulus program.
Light, sweet crude for May delivery advanced 66 cents, or 0.71 percent, to settle at 93.36 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for May delivery was also up 54 cents, or 0.52 percent, to close at 104.66 dollars a barrel.