Stocks held session highs by late morning Wednesday as a smaller build in crude inventories pushed oil prices closer to the $40 mark.
The S&P 500 added 0.62%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.67%, and the Nasdaq was up 0.9%.
Crude oil spiked after U.S. inventories added 2.3 million barrels in the past week, according to the Energy Information Administration. Analysts had expected 2.6 million barrels to have been added. The smaller-than-expected increase eased investor fears over a growing supply glut both on domestic and global markets. West Texas Intermediate crude oil was up 3.5% to $39.61 a barrel on Wednesday morning.
Energy stocks led markets higher on Wednesday. Major oilers Schlumberger (SLB) - Get Report , Chevron (CVX) - Get Report and BP (BP) - Get Report were among the top performers, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) - Get Report added 0.6%.
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An impressive 200,000 jobs were added to the private sector in March, according to the ADP National Employment Report. The official U.S. jobs report will be released on Friday. Economists anticipate 210,000 jobs to have been added to nonfarm payrolls in March, while the unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 4.9%.
Stocks rallied on Tuesday after Fed Chair Janet Yellen stressed caution in raising interest rates, reiterating that they would probably climb only gradually. The central bank's monetary policy committee should "proceed cautiously" in adjusting interest rates, Yellen said Tuesday during a speech in New York.
Boeing (BA) - Get Report inched higher on news it will eliminate about 4,000 jobs in its commercial airplanes division by the middle of this year. Around 1,600 of the positions will be cut through voluntary redundancies.
Lululemon (LULU) - Get Report added more than 2% after fourth-quarter profit rose 6%, better than analysts had expected. However, a soft first-quarter outlook disappointed. The athletic apparel brand expects earnings no higher than 30 cents a share, 7 cents below consensus.
Drive-in restaurant chain Sonic (SONC) climbed 4% after topping quarterly estimates and issuing better-than-expected guidance. The company said second-quarter profit jumped 41%, driven by strong sales particularly of its limited-time offers. Sonic anticipates full-year adjusted earnings to rise 20% to 25%, above previous guidance of 16% to 20%.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) added 4.5% after launching a credit facility amendment and requesting an extension to file its 10-K annual report on May 31. The embattled drugmaker said it is comfortable with its current liquidity position.
Apple (AAPL) - Get Report climbed after Cowen & Co. analysts upgraded the stock to outperform from market perform. The firm said the tech giant will benefit from an upcoming upgrade cycle wherein consumers replace old gadgets with the newest model.
Apple is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio.