Oil ends higher as Iran deal remains elusive, U.S. crude stockpiles shrink

Oil ends higher as Iran deal remains elusive, U.S. crude stockpiles shrink

Crude oil closed at its highest levels in nearly a month after a volatile session Wednesday, propelling energy equities to the top of the day's S&P sector leaderboard.

Front-month Nymex WTI crude oil (CL1:COM) for October delivery ended +1.2% to $94.89/bbl, matching the gain in the top energy sector ETF (NYSEARCA:XLE), and October Brent crude (CO1:COM) settled +1% to $101.22/bbl, both posting their best settlements since July 29.

ETFs: (XLE), (XOP), (VDE), (OIH), (IEO), (DRIP), (CRAK), (NYSEARCA:USO), (UCO), (SCO), (BNO), (DBO), (USL)

Among the day's top performing oil and gas stocks: (APA) +3.9%, (CTRA) +3.1%, (OKE) +2%, (COP) +1.9%, (PXD) +1.9%.

Oil ended higher following reports that the U.S. would not consider further concessions to Iran in a draft agreement that would restore the nuclear deal between the two countries, as well as the

.

In another jolt to oil markets, the U.S. government reported domestic crude oil stockpiles

to 421.7M barrels, bringing them ~6% below the five-year average, as the U.S. exports record amounts of crude and refined products.

According to the EIA, more than 11M bbl/day of crude and products such as diesel fuel left U.S. ports last week for overseas markets, the most in data going back to 1991.

Diesel exports surged 20% while crude outflows topped 4M bbl/day for a second straight week, the first back-to-back weekly gains since the lifting of the crude oil export ban in 2015.

Related: The U.S. average gasoline price has

.