The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 36.26 points, or 0.21 percent, to 17,000.36. The S&P 500 added 10.00 points, or 0.51 percent, to 1,989.26. The Nasdaq Composite Index inched up 25.55 points, or 0.55 percent, to 4,674.38.

Oil prices surged Wednesday, with Brent crude jumping above 40 U.S. dollars a barrel, after government data showed a build in U.S. crude stockpiles in line with expectations and a big drop in gasoline inventories.

Meanwhile, investors were also encouraged by hopes of an agreement to freeze output. According to media reports, producers in and outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plan to meet in Moscow on March 20 to discuss an output freeze.

There is no major economic data due out Wednesday.

Overseas, the European Central Bank’s (ECB) monetary policy meeting was also in focus, which was scheduled to be held on Thursday.

Markets largely expected the ECB to ease its policy, though some investors are concerned that a stimulus expansion could fall short of expectations.

European equities increased broadly Wednesday ahead of the ECB policy meeting. German benchmark DAX index at Frankfurt Stock Exchange rose 0.31 percent, while British benchmark FTSE 100 Index added 0.34 percent.

In Asia, Chinese shares plunged on Wednesday, ending a six-day winning streak, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index down more than 3 percent at one point. At the close, the Shanghai Composite Index dived 1.34 percent to close at 2,862.56 points. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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