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Oil prices rise on US, European economic news
Oil prices rise near $88 per barrel on signs of rising energy demand in US and Europe
By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) ' Oil prices are higher on encouraging economic news from the U.S. and Europe, pointing to stronger demand in the months to come.

Benchmark crude rose $1.87, or 2.2 percent, to $87.94 per barrel in midday trading in New York. Brent crude rose $1.28 to $111.04 per barrel in London.

Prices rose as European finance ministers met in Brussels on plans to control the region's debt crisis. In the U.S., the government said unemployment rates fell in half of the states last month as hiring picked up.

On Wall Street, stocks surged on strong earnings reports. The Dow Jones industrial average was up more than 200 points at midday.

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