Wall Street was mostly in the green on Wednesday morning as crude added to the week's gains after a steeper-than-expected decline in U.S. inventories.
The S&P 500 was up 0.19%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3%. The Nasdaq climbed 0.06%.
Crude was trading at 10-month highs on Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration reported a 3.2-million-barrel decline in domestic inventories in the past week. The data was slightly less than the 3.6-million-barrel drop reported by the American Petroleum Institute a day earlier.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil was up 1.5% to $51.14 a barrel on Wednesday morning.
The energy sector was one of the top performers on Wednesday. Major oilers BP (BP) - Get BP Plc Report , Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) , Chevron (CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report and PetroChina (PTR) - Get PetroChina Co. Ltd. Report were higher, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) - Get Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund Report added 0.9%.
U.S. stocks on Tuesday ended mixed but minor gains pushed the S&P 500 to score its highest close of the year for the second day in a row. The twin factors of higher oil and a less-hawkish Federal Reserve inspired small gains.
The number of job openings rose 5.8 million in April, up from a downwardly revised 5 million in March, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The quits rate fell to 2% from 2.1%, while the hiring rate slid to 3.5% from 3.7%.
European shares fell for their first day in three after weaker data from China brought up issues over growth from the world's second-largest economy. Chinese trade data showed exports fall at a faster pace of 4.1% compared to an expected 3.6% decline. Imports fell just 0.4%, the smallest decrease in 18 months.
Lululemon (LULU) - Get Lululemon Athletica Inc Report rose 1.5% despite offering a weaker outlook for its current quarter. The yogawear retailer expects same-store sales to rise in the mid-single digits in its second quarter with earnings no higher than 38 cents a share. Profit guidance missed consensus by a penny. Excluding currency exchange, sales at existing stores rose 5% in its first quarter.
Yahoo! (YHOO) kicked off an auction for a portfolio of about 3,000 patents expected to fetch more than $1 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported. Preliminary bids for the patents have a mid-June deadline. The beleaguered Internet company is also currently seeking potential bids for its core assets with a number of suitors reportedly expressing interest, including Verizon (VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report .
Lending Club (LC) - Get LendingClub Corp Report fell 1.8% on reports former CEO Renaud Laplanche is speaking with private-equity firms and banks to potentially take the company private. Laplanche, who stepped down last month, is currently seeking financing for a possible takeover.
Ralph Lauren (RL) - Get Ralph Lauren Corporation Class A Report was upgraded to neutral from underperform with a $96 price target at Bank of America. Analysts said the company is cutting costs and estimates appear to be bottoming.
Verifone (PAY) was downgraded to equal weight at Barclays and sector weight at Pacific Crest. Barclays analysts said the company lacks near-term visibility, while Pacific Crest said it is facing pricing and macro pressures in emerging markets.