NEW YORK (AA) – Wall Street closed higher Wednesday as the price of crude oil neared the $50 critical threshold.
The Dow Jones rose 145 points to end the day at 17,851 points. The S&P 500 was up 15 points to close at 2,090, while the Nasdaq was up 33 points to 4,894.
At the final bell oil prices were at their highest levels in seven months.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was up 2.2 percent to $49.67 per barrel. International benchmark Brent crude was around $49.97 – a 2.7 percent increase.
The rise in oil prices accelerated Wednesday after the U.S.' weekly crude stocks decreased.
For the week ending May 20, inventories fell by 4.2 million barrels, according to Energy Information Administration figures. Market expectation was a decline of 2.4 million barrels.
With the jump in crude prices, the stock value of major energy firms also posted gains.
Chesapeake Energy, one the largest gas companies in the country, saw its shares rise 7.6 percent, while oil and gas firm Southwestern Energy Co.'s stocks increased 6.9 percent. Offshore drilling contractor Transocean's was up 9.6 percent.