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Stocks Hold Near Highs as Crude Spikes Above $37


Stocks held near session highs by midday Wednesday as crude oil recaptured a level above $37 a barrel.

The S&P 500 was up 0.6%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.37%, and the Nasdaq added 0.88%. Stocks had struggled to determine a direction earlier in the session.

Crude oil rallied on Wednesday after domestic inventories declined by 4.9 million barrels in the past week, according to the Energy Information Administration. The read was far better than an expected increase of 3.2 million. A separate release from the American Petroleum Institute backed up the downward trend, showing a decline of 4.3 million barrels last week. West Texas Intermediate crude oil was up 5% to $37.71 a barrel.

Crude was already higher after Kuwaiti governor for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Nawal Al-Fuzaia, said a deal could be reached when members meet in Qatar on April 17. Hopes over a possible deal among members have faded recently as Iran suggested it wouldn't participate in a deal until it has reached pre-sanction production levels.

The energy sector was one of the best performers on Wall Street Wednesday. Major oilers including Exxon Mobil (XOM) , Chevron (CVX) , and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) were all higher, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) added 1.9%.

Concerns over the global economy that battered Wall Street at the start of 2016 took their toll again on Tuesday. The S&P...