The U.S. oil rig count rose by about 42 percent by end-2017 compared to the corresponding period last year, as energy companies boosted spending amid a recovery in crude prices. Drillers held the number of oil rigs steady for a second straight week at 747 in the week to Dec. 29. That was 222 more than the 525 rigs at the end of 2016, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes Inc energy services firm said on Friday. The oil rig count, an early indicator of future output, remained unchanged in December after rising by 10 in November. It declined by 3 in the fourth quarter after falling by 6 in the third quarter. U.S. oil prices closed above $60 a barrel for the first time since mid-2015 on the final trading day of the year, ending 2017 with a 12 percent gain spurred by strong demand and declining […]