By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Crude oil prices rose to a 15-month high on Wednesday after a surprise U.S. inventory drawdown, boosting energy shares.
WTI crude (CLc1) hit its highest since July 2015 after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. stockpiles fell by 5.2 million barrels in the week ended Friday, dashing analysts' expectations for a build.
Stocks in the financial sector were boosted by Morgan Stanley's (MS.N) better-than-expected quarterly profit, which rounds out a string of solid results from the largest U.S. banks.
"We’re up because the (earnings) numbers are so great, the forward guidance is great and the banks just knocked it out of the park," said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O’Neil Securities in New York.
Energy stocks were boosted by the higher oil prices and helped offset a near 6-percent decline in shares of Intel after a disappointing revenue forecast.
"The severe weakness in energy prices really took a toll. We've had a few starts up only to see prices fall, but this time it seems different, the price holding for longer and investors are warming to the sector," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"Better energy prices are seen as a statement that maybe the economy is a little bit stronger," he said.
The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) rose 40.68 points, or 0.22 percent, to 18,202.62, the S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 4.69 points, or 0.22 percent, to 2,144.29 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 2.58 points, or 0.05 percent, to 5,246.41.
The pan-European STOXX 600 (.STOXX) index rose 0.3 percent, following a 1.5 percent rise in the previous session. MSCI's gauge of stocks world wide <.MIWD00000PUS> rose 0.4 percent.
U.S. crude (CLc1) was up 2.3 percent at $51.44 a barrel and Brent (LCOc1) last traded at $52.57, up 1.7 percent on the day.
RECORD SAUDI BOND SALE
Saudi Arabia sold $17.5 billion of debt, the largest ever emerging market bond sale in the government's first international offer that attracted investor orders for almost four times that amount.
The launch of the offering briefly drove Treasury yields higher but benchmark 10-year notes
The U.S. dollar index (.DXY) was little changed at 97.881, not far from the seven-month high of 98.169 hit Monday.
The euro was less than 0.1 percent lower versus the U.S. dollar at $1.0969 (EUR=).
Spot gold (XAU=) gained 0.6 percent to $1,269.21 an ounce, after earlier touching its highest since Oct. 5 at $1,273.34. U.S. gold futures (GCcv1) rose 0.6 percent to $1,270.00 an ounce.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, additional reporting by Richard Leong and Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski)