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Rising oil prices helped boost the energy sector as Canada’s main stock index gained ground in late morning trading.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 76.30 points at 16,373.27.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 14.05 points at 25,808.24. The S&P 500 index was up 2.45 points at 2,865.41, while the Nasdaq composite was up 22.87 points at 7,882.04.

The Canadian dollar was trading at 76.79 cents US, up from an average of 76.71 cents US on Tuesday.

The December gold contract was up US$1.80 at US$1,201.80 an ounce and the September copper contract was down 2.25 cents at US$2.6730 a pound.

On Wall Street, U.S. stocks fluctuated in thin trading, as a rise in crude prices lifted energy producers to offset weakness in bank shares. The U.S. dollar slumped as investors assessed the latest headlines on trade and the political drama in Washington.

The S&P 500 Index was mixed in trading more than 15 per cent below average after touching an all-time high Tuesday. Government stockpile data sent oil prices above $67 a barrel, while Target Corp. and Lowe’s Cos. posted strong results that lifted consumer shares. Utilities and other bond proxies faded.

The U.S. dollar weakened versus the Mexican peso after a White House official suggested a NAFTA deal was near, while demand for haven assets held amid the legal turmoil engulfing the Trump administration. The 10-year Treasury yield traded around 2.83 percent ahead of the release of Federal Reserve meeting minutes.

While all eyes focused on the legal drama in Washington, U.S. stocks remained near records amid double-digit corporate profit growth. At the same time, benchmark Treasury yields have held below 3 percent even as the Fed remains on track to raise rates amid a strengthening economy. Add to the mix trade wars and turmoil in emerging markets. Some clarity could come from a meeting of central bankers on Friday in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

“This market will focus on a couple of factors: does this change the math for the mid-term elections, does this cause polls to shift in a material way?” said Andrew Sheets, chief cross-asset strategist at Morgan Stanley, in a Bloomberg TV interview. “The market’s going to be watching very closely Friday in Jackson Hole. Does the Fed continue to sound like they are going to continue to tighten policy?”

Bloomberg and The Canadian Press

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