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Oil prices have vaulted to US$77 a barrel as the U.S. dollar weakened and the stock market climbed on upbeat economic news. By early afternoon Tuesday, benchmark crude for March delivery had risen US$2.87 to US$77 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. With markets closed Monday in the U.S. because of the President's Day holiday, the contract last settled on Friday, falling US$1.15 to US$74.13.

In London, Brent crude was up US$3.20 at US$75.71 on the ICE futures exchange.

A report on manufacturing in the New York area was stronger than expected. The Empire State manufacturing index rose to 24.91 this month, compared with a forecast of 18, according to economists polled by Thomson Reuters. The index was 15.92 last month.

Source - AP

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