The global benchmark, Brent crude LCOU5, -0.95% fell 67 cents, or 1.3%, to $49.51 a barrel on London’s ICE exchange.
News Corp (NWSA) soared 5.9% or 83 cents to $14.95 after the diversified media and entertainment conglomerate reported revenues in the fourth-quarter ending in June dropped 2.3% to $2.14 billion form a year ago period.
The S&P 500 advanced 0.1 percent to 2,085.66 at 3:50 p.m.in New York, erasing losses as it climbed back above its 200-day moving average.
The Dow Jones industrial average was flat at 17,403, after tumbling as much as 277 points earlier in the session.
Among sectors, financial shares declined the most, with the S&P financial index down 0.8 percent.
Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities, said US stocks have been in a holding pattern amid mixed signs on the global economy.
The week’s biggest deal was the purchase by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (Sao Paolo: BERK34.SA – news) of Precision Castparts (NYSE: PCP – news), a leading supplier to the aerospace industry, for $37.2 billion, the largest acquisition in the conglomerate’s 50-year history. Major indices in the US wobbled between slight gains and losses. Markets have been hypnotized by seemingly neverending promise of cheap money.
The positive data comes at the end of a choppy week during which China devalued its currency, hitting markets and derailing predictions of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike.
NEW YORK-US stocks finished mostly higher Wednesday as an afternoon rally led by Apple and energy equities overcame early weakness on fears about an economic slowdown in China. The probability of a rate increase in September slipped to 40 percent from 54 percent Monday, according to futures trading data compiled by Bloomberg. At the lows of the day, the Dow Jones was down 277 points as the selloff in the Chinese yuan continued overnight. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.76%. Freeport-McMoRan dropped 12.3 percent to $10.22. Stocks in the Energy, Basic Materials and Telecommunications industries lagged, each losing more than 0.4% on the session. Same store sales rose 4.1 per cent. Germany’s DAX gained 1.4 percent to 11,078.39 and Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.8 percent to 6,620.92.
U.S. retail sales rebounded in July.
Marie Schofield, chief economist and senior portfolio manager at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, said the three-month averages on JOLTS and nonfarm payrolls is “not showing anything other than status quo in hiring”. The official reason for letting the tightly controlled yuan fall is to make it more responsive to market forces but a weaker yuan also gives a competitive boost to exports from China, where the economy is slowing.