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OPEC agrees to lower output to push up oil prices

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VIENNA - OPEC has agreed to cut 1.2 million barrels a day from its present output -- the first cutback in eight years -- after its 14 members put aside differences to agree on individual production levels.

The move, which will leave Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries output at 32. 5 million barrels a day is to take effect in January.

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The agreement was announced by OPEC President Secretary General Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada at the end of the meeting Wednesday. He also said major non-OPEC producers were ready to act in concert with OPEC and tentatively planning to reduce their output.

He did not list the countries involved beyond Russia saying Russia was prepared to cut 300,000 barrels from its output of more than 10 million barrels a day.

A surge in the price of oil is sending energy stocks sharply higher in midday trading, edging the Dow Jones industrial average up to another all-time high.

Benchmark U.S. crude jumped 8 percent in New York after OPEC countries agreed to their first cutback in production in eight years.

Among energy stocks, Marathon Oil (MRO) jumped 22 percent and oil rig operator Transocean (RIG) rose 16 percent.

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