Investing.com -- U.S. stocks staged a late rally on Wednesday to finish with a mixed session, as an 8% surge in crude prices and further indications from the Federal Reserve of a delayed interest rate hike helped the major indices rebound from its worst day in two weeks.
In Wednesday's session, U.S. crude futures soared nearly $2.50 a barrel amid renewed hopes for an emergency OPEC meeting, which could result in global production cuts of as much as 5%. One day after WTI crude plunged below $30 a barrel, Ecuador president Rafael Correa triggered the reversal by telling the Wall Street Journal that such a meeting could occur as soon as this month. In recent weeks, U.S. equities have traded in lockstep with oil prices , virtually mirroring wild fluctuations on energy markets, which have seemingly occurred on a daily basis.
The Dow Jones Industrials Average added 183.05 or 1.13% to 16,336.59, while the NASDAQ Composite index fell 12.71 or 0.28% to 4,504.24, amid down sessions for Yahoo! Inc (O:YHOO), Alphabet Inc (O:GOOGL) and Amazon.com Inc (O:AMZN). At session low's, the Dow fell by as much as 193 points. The S&P 500 Composite index, meanwhile, gained 9.50 or 0.50% to 1,912.53, as seven of 10 sectors closed in the green. Stocks in Basic Materials and Energy sectors led, each gaining more than 3% on the session. Stocks in the Technology, Consumer Services and Consumer Goods industries lagged.
The massive surge in oil propped up Exxon Mobil Corporation (N:XOM), which added 3.70 or 4.96% to close at 78.29. It came one day after the oil giant announced plans to cut capital expenditures by 25% in the wake of a dismal quarter when it reported its worst earnings in more than a decade. ExxonMobil (N:XOM), the top performer on the Dow, is still down by more than 10% over the last year. The worst performer was MCD, which fell 2.62 or 2.11% to 121.33. On Tuesday, reports surfaced that two units of the OSI Group, a U.S. food supplier, were facing fines from a China court stemming from allegations that it provided expired meat to McDonald's (N:MCD) and KFC.
The biggest gainer on the NASDAQ was Autodesk Inc (O:ADSK), which soared 3.75 or 8.17% after the design-focused software announced the layoff of 925 employees or 10% of its workforce as part of a comprehensive restructuring plan. The worst performer was Mondelez International Inc (O:MDLZ), which plunged 2.77 or 6.60% to close at 39.18. Earlier, the Oreo cookie maker reported worse than expected quarterly earnings, resulting from a $778 million loss from its operations in Venezuela. While Mondelez said Wednesday that it will continue to sell Oreo's in the struggling South American country, it will not account for the sales after deciding to write off the revenues this quarter.
The top performer on the S&P 500 was Chesapeake Energy Corporation (N:CHK), which added 0.39 or 12.88% to 3.338. Chesapeake Energy (N:CHK) finished just ahead of Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc (N:FCX) and Newmont Mining Corporation (N:NEM), which both jumped by more than 11% on the session. It came as gold prices soared to its highest level since late-October on Wednesday, as the dollar plummeted more than 1.3% to suffer its worst session in two months. Gold closed the session at $1,140 an ounce, up more than 8% percent from its December low when it traded at its lowest level in six years.
The worst performer was National Oilwell Varco Inc (N:NOV), which lost 2.67 or 8.71% to 28.00. National Oilwell Varco finished just below Marathon Oil Corporation (N:MRO), which fell 3.07 or 7.62% to 37.20. A session earlier, Marathon suffered a major hit when Standard & Poor's lowered its credit rating from AA to AA-, one step above junk territory. Marathon was one of 20 oil companies that had their credit ratings lowered by S&P on Tuesday.
On the New York Stock Exchange, advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by a 1,938 to 1,094 margin.
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