By Barani Krishnan NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil rose on Friday as concerns over fighting in Iraq extended short covering from the previous session, but crude prices were still poised for a seventh month of declines, the longest rout on record. A supply glut and OPEC's refusal to cut output has driven benchmark Brent and U.S. crude futures down 60 percent since June. A Reuters poll shows oil prices may post only a mild recovery in the second half of the year, with prices still averaging less in 2015 than during the global financial crisis. Crude was up in early trading Friday in New York on renewed violence in oil producer Iraq, where Islamic State militants had struck at Kurdish forces southwest of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. economic growth slowed sharply in the fourth quarter as weak business spending and a wider trade deficit offset the fastest pace of consumer spending since 2006. The slowdown, which follows two back-to-back quarters of bullish growth, is likely to be short-lived given the enormous tailwind from lower gasoline prices. Economists had expected GDP to expand at a 3 percent rate in the fourth quarter. The report came two days after the Federal Reserve said the economy was growing at a "solid pace," an upgraded assessment that keeps it on track to start raising interest rates this year.