Oil companies broadly advanced yesterday as crude rebounded, buoyed by speculation that Iran will attend a meeting of OPEC producing countries next month.
Members of the oil producing cartel are expected to meet to discuss actions to support the crude market, which despite rallying more than 30 per cent this year remains 57 per cent below a 2014 peak.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, reversed earlier losses and rose 1.3 per cent to $49.79 a barrel after Reuters said Iran was “sending positive signals” about supporting joint efforts, citing unnamed sources in OPEC and the oil industry.
West Texas Intermediate, the US oil marker, advanced 1 per cent to $47.90 a barrel.
Shares of Chesapeake Energy climbed 6 per cent to $6.48, Marathon Oil rose 4 per cent to $16.34, Southwestern Energy advanced 4 per cent to $14.07 and Anadarko Petroleum gained 2 per cent to $55.49.
Ted Harper, an energy and commodities fund manager with Frost Investment Advisors, noted that while Nigerian oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu had said a production cut was unlikely at the forthcoming meeting, the talks had fuelled hope that it could “shore up crude prices”.
“He doesn’t see them cutting volume but commented that all options are on the table and other actions could have an impact,” Mr Harper said. “Given the organisation’s history, we remain fairly skeptical as to the likelihood of any forthcoming production cuts.”
Toll Brothers, the US homebuilder, led an advance in the housing sector after it eclipsed sales expectations in its fiscal third quarter and projected fourth-quarter revenues ahead of Wall Street forecasts.
The Pennsylvania-based company said revenues rose 24 per cent from a year earlier to $1.27bn in the three months to the end of July. Net income advanced 58 per cent to $105.5m or 61 cents per share.
“Through the first three weeks of August, the beginning of our fourth quarter, our non-binding reservation deposits are up 23 per cent,” said Douglas Yearley, the company’s chief executive. “Every region showed growth in contracts of anywhere from 9 per cent to 29 per cent.”
The report preceded stronger than expected new home sales in the country, which climbed 12.4 per cent to an annualised pace of 654,000 units, according to the US Census Bureau. The figure marked the fastest pace of newly built home sales since 2007.
“Homes are literally flying off the shelves here with a record pace for this long recovery from the great recession,” said Chris Rupkey, an economist with the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ. “We expect the sales gains to continue with the labour market tightening and wages starting to pick up.”
Shares of Toll Brothers advanced 8 per cent to $31.82. Rivals in the industry also climbed on the results, with Lennar up 4 per cent to $48.36, DR Horton rising 3 per cent to $33.18 and KB Home gaining 5 per cent to $16.17.
US stock markets neared record levels on Tuesday with the benchmark S&P 500 briefly coming less than one point from touching its all-time high.
The S&P 500 gained 0.3 per cent to 2,189.86 at the start of the afternoon in New York. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.4 per cent to 5,265.25 while the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.2 per cent to 18,566.61.

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