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Futures rise as crude prices rebound

U.S. stock index futures were higher on Wednesday, tracking a rise in oil prices, even as investors remained wary of weakness in the global economy, led by China.

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), March 4, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

U.S. stock index futures were higher on Wednesday, tracking a rise in oil prices, even as investors remained wary of weakness in the global economy, led by China.

Benchmark Brent rose above $40 a barrel in anticipation that the world's largest exporters would agree to freeze production and help reduce a massive oversupply.

Crude prices, which have been a major influence on stocks this year, have rallied sharply in recent days. However, industry watchers remain skeptical of a sustained recovery due to the glut.

Markets worldwide were lower on Wednesday as investors fretted about global economic conditions ahead of central bank meetings on monetary policies.

While recent data has pointed to a recovery in the U.S. economy, reports out of Asia and the euro zone continue to paint a picture of faltering growth.

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The European Central Bank, which will meet later this week, is expected to increase its stimulus program.

While the U.S. Federal Reserve is not expected to raise interest rates at its meeting on March 15-16, the central bank has said it is on track to raise rates gradually this year.

U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday, snapping a five-day run of gains on the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average, after a slump in oil prices dragged down energy shares.

Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill <CMG.N> were down 3.3 percent at $524.69 premarket. The company, already reeling from several food-borne illnesses, temporarily shut a Massachusetts restaurant after four employees fell sick.

Ross Stores <ROST.O> was down 1.4 percent at $57.38 after Goldman Sachs cut its rating on the stock to neutral.

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