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Oil prices advanced to the highest level in months Wednesday as expectations that OPEC will decide to extend its production-cut deal outweighed pressure from a third-straight weekly jump in U.S. crude supplies and a hefty rise in production. A further rise for prices would have to be “fueled by talk in the upcoming weeks” on whether the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ production-cut deal will be extended “or if consensus starts to increase the amount of cuts,” said Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital Advisors. U.S. benchmark October West Texas Intermediate crude(XNYM:CLV7), which expires at the day’s settlement, rose 87 cents, or 1.8%, to $50.35 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, headed for its highest settlement since late May. It was trading up at $50.
Key U.S. index funds were narrowly mixed early Wednesday ahead of the Fed's monetary policy announcement. XAutoplay: On | OffSPDR S&P 500 (SPY) held a fractional gain, while SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) edged lower and PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ) dipped 0.1%. Oil funds led the upside as West Texas intermediate crude prices surged more than 1% to $50.04 a barrel. Biotech and gold plays were also higher. Gold futures climbed 0.3% to $1,315.00 an ounce. But banks, chips and homebuilders underperformed in the stock market today. Existing home sales in August fell 1.7% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.35 million, below views for 5.48 million. Big Dividend Stock Boosts Payout Who doesn't
Wall Street opened little changed on Wednesday as investors waited for the conclusion of the two-day Federal Reserve meeting for indications of a third interest rate hike this year. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will hold a press conference half an hour later, which will be closely watched for views on inflation. The central bank is likely to keep interest rate unchanged and say that it will start unwinding its holdings of about $4.2 trillion in bonds and mortgage-backed securities.