Oil jumps 4 percent after stockpile data; dollar gains
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices jumped on Wednesday as government data showed U.S. crude stocks rose slightly less than expected last week, while the U.S. dollar advanced against the euro ahead of Thursday's European Central Bank meeting.
U.S. stocks climbed as a rebound in oil prices added to optimism sparked by a raft of earnings reports.
Speculation that major oil producers would meet in Russia in May for another attempt at curtailing output also boosted oil prices. Moscow, however, denied media reports that Russia planned to host such a meeting.
Last weekend, Russia and OPEC nations failed to reach an agreement on freezing production at a meeting in Doha, Qatar.
Brent crude oil settled up $1.77, or 4 percent, at $45.80 a barrel, while U.S. front-month crude, which expired at Wednesday's settlement, finished up $1.55, or 3.8 percent, at $42.63.
Gains in oil along with other commodities helped push the Thomson Reuters Core Commodity Index up 2 percent to highest level since December. Chicago Board of Trade soybean, wheat and corn futures all climbed.
On Wall Street, investors focused on the earnings season as they seek catalysts to drive stocks higher. Intuitive Surgical rose 3.3 percent after stronger-than-expected profit, though other reports disappointed. Coca-Cola was down 4.8 percent after reporting a drop in sales.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 42.67 points, or 0.24 percent, to 18,096.27, the S&P 500 gained 1.6 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,102.4 and the Nasdaq Composite added 7.80 points, or 0.16 percent, to 4,948.13. Continued...