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Oil jumps after US data; stocks edge up

[NEW YORK] Crude oil prices rose to a 15-month high on Wednesday after a surprise US inventory drawdown, boosting energy shares.

WTI crude hit its highest since July 2015 after the Energy Information Administration said US stockpiles fell by 5.2 million barrels in the week ended Friday, dashing analysts'expectations for a build.

Energy stocks led the way up on Wall Street, boosted by the higher oil prices. Exxon and Chevron were the largest gainers on the S&P 500, helping offset a near 6-per cent 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 rose 62.66 points, or 0.34 per cent, to 18,224.6, the S&P 500 gained 5.36 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 2,144.96 and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.44 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 5,245.28.

The S&P 500 energy sector rose 2 per cent.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.3 per cent, following a 1.5 per cent rise in the previous session. MSCI's gauge of stocks world wide rose 0.4 per cent.

US crude was up 2.8 per cent at US$51.71 a barrel and Brent last traded at US$52.86, up 2.3 per cent on the day.

Saudi Arabia sold US$17.5 billion of debt, the largest ever emerging market bond sale. The government's first international offer attracted investor orders for almost four times that amount.

The launch of the offering briefly drove Treasury yields higher but benchmark 10-year notes last rose 3/32 in price to yield 1.738 per cent, down from 1.748 per cent on Tuesday.

The US dollar index was little changed at 97.899, not far from the seven-month high of 98.169 hit Monday.

The euro was 0.1 per cent lower versus the US dollar at US$1.0963.

Spot gold gained 0.7 per cent to US$1,270.62 an ounce, after earlier touching its highest since Oct 5 at US$1,273.34. US gold futures rose 0.7 per cent to US$1,271.70 an ounce.