Stocks Opened Higher as Oil Jump Fueled Optimism

U.S. stocks opened higher on Wednesday, lifted by a rally in oil prices and solid gains in Europe one day ahead of the closely watched European Central Bank meeting. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately gained 50.92 points, or 0.304%, to 17,015.02. The S&P 500 added 5.09 points, or 0.26%, to 1,984.35. The Nasdaq Compositewas down 2.89 points, or 0.06%, to 4,645.94.

Oil prices rose above $40 a barrel on Wednesday on speculation that the world’s largest exporters could agree this month to freeze production and help erode the largest global build in unwanted crude in years. Brent crude futures rose 68 cents to $40.33 a barrel by 1050 GMT, while U.S. crude futures were up 54 cents at $37.03.

The German carmaker BMW reported on Wednesday that its operating profit was better than expected, thanks to healthy sales of high-margin sport-utility vehicles. The company’s earnings before interest and tax rose to 9.59 billion euros, or $10.6 billion, above the average forecast of €9.55 billion in a Reuters poll of analysts. Inc will lease 20 Boeing 767 freighter aircraft, lessor Air Transport Services Group Inc said on Wednesday, as the online retailer moves closer to setting up its own air delivery network.

United Airlines has announced an order to purchase 25 new Boeing 737-700 aircraft. The order is in addition to the previously announced order of 40 737-700s. United will take delivery of the aircraft beginning at the end of 2017. The new 737-700 aircraft will enable United to continue utilizing larger, more efficient aircraft as the airline reduces the size of its 50-seat regional fleet. United expects to have fewer than 100 aircraft in its 50-seat fleet by the end of 2019.

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