- U.S. stocks traded mostly higher in the morning session on Wednesday, as investors shifted their focus from a possible interest rate hike to gains in oil prices.
By noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 30.51 points, or 0.17 percent, to 17,968.79. The S&P 500 gained 1.85 points, or 0.09 percent, to 2,113.98. The Nasdaq Composite Index ticked up 1.15 points, or 0.02 percent, to 4,962.90.
Oil prices extended recent gains to trade nearly 1 percent higher on Wednesday. Both Brent and WTI held strong above 50 U.S. dollars a barrel in early session, helped by a larger-than-expected U.S. crude stockpile draw.
U.S. stocks closed mixed Tuesday, as Wall Street continued to assess U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech on the U.S. economy.
Yellen said Monday that gradual interest rate hikes remain appropriate, but avoided providing precise timing for the central bank's next move.
"The positive economic forces have outweighed the negative, and despite the challenges that the economy continues to face, I continue to expect further progress toward our employment and inflation objectives," Yellen said in a speech at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.