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Stocks pare gains; oil drops on inventory buildup

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Stocks pare gains; oil drops on inventory buildup

Stocks pared early gains in morning trading Wednesday as oil prices and energy stocks dropped after a report showed U.S. oil inventories grew more than expected. Investors were also reacting to a mega-deal in the oil industry as Royal Dutch Shell agreed to buy Britain’s BG Group for $70 billion in cash and stock.the-percentage-of-americans-playing-the-stock-market-is-at-an-all-time-low

In late morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up about 40 points, or 0.2%, after rising as high as 100 points earlier in the session. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 0.2% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 0.6%. Oil prices tumbled 4% to $51.78 after the Energy Information Administration reported an increase in oil stockpiles last week. Energy stocks took a hit as Chevron dropped 1.2% and ExxonMobil fell 1.1%.

Wall Street is also anticipating the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting in March and the kick off of first-quarter earnings season. Overseas, Asian markets jumped as Japan’s central bank maintained its expansively easy monetary policy. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.8% to close at 19,789.81, near a 15-year high, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index surged 3.8%. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.9%.

European markets were mixed: Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.2% while France’s CAC 40 was flat. Germany’s DAX slipped 0.3%. Stocks fell sharply in the last hour of trading Tuesday as the major indexes closed lower, breaking a two-day winning streak.

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