The S&P 500 closed just points from its record high as a crude oil rally distracted Wall Street from uncertainty over the Federal Reserve's rate-hike plans. Crude closed higher for the sixth straight session, settling at its best since July 1. Private-prison operators plunged after the Department of Justice announced it would end contracts with for-profit institutions. Publicly-owned prisons Corrections Corp. of America (CXW) and GEO Group (GEO) moved sharply lower on the news. Williams Cos. (WMB) surged on reports it had rejected a takeover bid from Enterprise Product Partners (EPD) over the summer. Enterprise remains interested in an acquisition and may make another offer. SunEdison Semiconductor (SEMI) rocketed higher after agreeing to be purchased by GlobalWafers. The $12-a-share offer represents a 45% premium to its Wednesday closing price.
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