NEW YORK, March 4 (Reuters) - U.S. oil futures rose on Wednesday and benchmark Brent pared losses as OPEC member Iran stressed that it opposed a timeline for a freeze on nuclear activities, news that helped crude rebound from an early slide tied to swelling U.S. stockpiles.
Comments from Saudi Arabia's oil minister that prices ought to stabilize from the selloff of recent months also helped put a floor under prices, dealers said.
Some drew encouragement from the Federal Reserve's Beige Book report anticipating cuts in capital expenditure for oil and gas producers in certain U.S. districts. Lower oil exploration budgets could mean less supply in the future.
U.S. crude settled up $1.01 at $51.53 a barrel, reversing a near $1 drop from earlier in the day.
Brent finished down 47 cents at $60.55 a barrel, after falling more than $1.50 earlier.
Oil prices slid in early trade after U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed domestic crude stocks rose 10.3 million barrels last week, more than double the build forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll. It was the eighth straight week of record highs for total inventories.
After a steep slide earlier in the week, losses on the U.S. data were somewhat muted as market bulls noted that stockpiles grew much less than expected in the Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub.
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