Oil prices recovered in pre-holiday trading on Thursday on support from simmering Iran tensions before the latest batch of US data and after heavy losses the previous day.
Traders were on tenterhooks ahead of US weekly jobs claims due on Thursday, a day before the release of vital non-farm payrolls figures.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in May added 32 cents to $122.66 a barrel in London morning trade.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for May, gained 12 cents to $101.59 a barrel.
"Crude oil prices rebounded slightly in a correction higher, after yesterday's sharp sell-off," Sucden brokers analyst Myrto Sokou told AFP.
"Investors should be keeping an eye on the weekly jobless claims data ahead of the important release of the US non-farm payroll data on Friday and the long Easter holiday break."
London oil trading will be closed on Friday and Monday due to a bank holiday and will reopen for business on Tuesday. However, electronic deals will continue in New York.
The market had tumbled on Wednesday after the US government reported a big jump in the nation's crude stockpiles, adding to concerns about growth in the world's biggest oil-consuming nation.
The Department of Energy revealed that crude reserves soared by nine million barrels in the week ending March 30. That was a far bigger increase than the average estimate of 1.9 million barrels.
Prices were also under pressure from more signs of recession in Europe and the US Federal Reserve's apparent growing reluctance to inject fresh stimulus into the sluggish US economy.
VTB Capital commodities analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov said the oil market would give its full verdict on Friday's non-farm payrolls data next week.
"Much will depend on how the market opens next week with a delayed reaction to the US March non-farm payrolls report this coming Friday," Kryuchenkov said.
"Today, market participants will pay particular attention to the weekly jobless claims in the US. However, volumes are likely to remain subdued in pre-holiday trading."
Meanwhile, simmering tensions over key crude producer Iran remained a key concern for the oil market.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Iran that time was not "infinite" for diplomacy and that "all options remain on the table" after a dispute over the venue of talks.
Clinton said that the European Union would look into setting a time and place for long-moribund talks on Iran's nuclear programme but vowed that the United States would maintain "strong pressure" to address concerns.
Clinton had earlier said that the talks between Iran and six world powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- would begin on April 13 in Istanbul.
But Iran said Tuesday that it objected to holding the talks in Turkey, which cut imports of oil from its neighbor in response to US threats of sanctions.
Instead, according to Iraq's foreign ministry, Iran has formally requested Baghdad hold the April 13-14 negotiations.