U.S. crude oil prices fell on Wednesday as Gulf Coast refineries and platforms seemed to have escaped damage from Hurricane Isaac, while global stocks were little changed as traders looked ahead to a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday, as per Reuters.
U.S. gross domestic product data showed the world's biggest economy grew at a 1.7% annual pace in the second quarter, a slightly faster rate than the 1.5% the government initially reported. However, the pace still was seen as too slow to rule out further easing by the Fed. While the economy grew gradually in July and early August, manufacturing was softening in many areas, Fed data showed. U.S. stocks have been supported by expectations the Fed will pump more cash into an economy whose recovery has stalled. But a pick-up in job growth and rebound in retail sales in July have damped speculation on further easing. Other data on business spending and inflation lent support to more Fed action.