U.S. Stocks Rebound; Apple Soars On Upgrade

U.S. stocks staged a rebound Wednesday, in part thanks to a rally in Apple Inc. shares, while the main indexes were on track to recoup some of the steep losses they suffered during the previous session. 

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Shares in Apple Inc. climbed more than 3% as analysts at RBC Capital Markets outlined five reasons the tech giant is still a buy as the iPhone 7 cycle begins. 

Investors remained skittish, however, as uncertainty about the Federal Reserve's plans for monetary policy and volatile oil prices resulted in choppy trading. 

The S&P 500 index was up by 9 points, or 0.4%, to 2,135, with nearly all main sectors trading in positive territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 55 points, or 0.3%, to 18,121. Meanwhile the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 34 points, or 0.7%, to 5,190. 

All three stock-index gauges on Tuesday suffered big losses as a sharp slump in energy prices and rate increase fears. 

On Wednesday, oil futures continued to decline with 

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A report on oil supplies published by the Energy Information Administration showed inventories declined by 600 thousand barrels last week, much smaller than the 14.5 million barrel drop from the week before. 

Oil prices briefly spiked after the report, but have since turned lower, with West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery down 2% in recent trade. 

Fed: Traders were still hesitant to dip their toes too deep into stocks ahead of the closely watched Federal Reserve meeting on Sept. 20-21. 

"With the U.S. central bank now in blackout period ahead of the decision next Wednesday, there is little in the way of positive drivers helping underpin the market at this time," said Michael Hewson chief market analyst at CMC Markets, in a note. 

"September is probably an easier time for the Fed to raise rates than December, but it really does not matter. Markets by now know that there will be a rate hike in the next six months," said Maris Ogg, president at Tower Bridge Advisors. 

The CME FedWatch Tool is showing a 15% probability of a rate increase next week. Goldman Sachs on Monday cut its September hike odds to 25% from 40% following dovish comments from Fed Gov. Lael Brainard. 

The economic calendar was relatively thin on Wednesday. Market reaction to the August import-price index was muted. Import prices slipped 0.2% due to lower oil, while export prices dropped 0.8%, driven by a fall in farm crop prices. 


Movers and shakers: Shares of Monsanto Co. rose 0.8% after Bayer AG raised its offer for the U.S. seeds major to $128 a share. Both companies announced Wednesday that they had approved the deal. 

Ford Motor Co. fell 1.4% after the car maker outlined plans to deliver profitable growth for the next several years, including investing in electric and autonomous vehicles. 

Shares of Macy's Inc. rallied 1.9% after analysts at Citi upgraded the stock to buy from neutral. 

Coach Inc. shares dropped 3% after analysts at Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to underweight from equalweight. 

Other markets: The 10-year Treasury yield ticked down to 1.69%, after a spike on Tuesday. The dollar weakened against most other major currencies. Gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,327.50. 

Stocks in Asia closed mainly lower, while all major European stock markets advanced.