* Oil prices hold on to gains
* Kinder Morgan up after Berkshire reports stake
* Fossil, Priceline up after results beat estimates
* Indexes up: Dow 0.85 pct, S&P 0.92 pct, Nasdaq 0.96 pct (Updates to open)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Feb 17 (Reuters) - Wall Street was higher on Wednesday, on track for a third straight day of gains, led by gains in energy and materials as oil prices held on to their gains.
Nine of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher, led by the 1.6 percent rise in the materials sector.
The benchmark S&P 500 index staged its best two-day gain since late August over the past two days as investors snatched up beaten-down shares.
Still, the S&P 500 has fallen 7.3 percent this year due to slumping oil prices, fears of a China-led slowdown in global growth and uncertainty about central bank policies.
The price of Brent crude oil, a major international benchmark, was up about 3 percent, holding onto its gains despite Iran refusing to be part of a group of top oil producers to freeze output.
The agreement to stabilize production, along with the acceptance of accommodative monetary policy in Europe, relative stability in the Chinese yuan has helped calm frayed nerves globally, said Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co in Florham Park, New Jersey.
“We do not see, for the moment, additional selling pressure in the coming week as market speculators absorb this much-needed mood,” Morganlander said. He expects the markets to stay in a tight trading range.
At 9:39 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 136.86 points, or 0.85 percent, at 16,333.27.
The S&P 500 was up 17.49 points, or 0.92 percent, at 1,913.07 and the Nasdaq Composite index was up 42.51 points, or 0.96 percent, at 4,478.47.
Kinder Morgan were up 10.9 percent at $17.32 after Berkshire Hathaway disclosed a stake in the pipeline operator.
Fossil was up 19.5 percent at $41.16 after the watchmaker’s quarterly results beat estimates.
Priceline was 11.4 percent higher at $1,237 after the travel websites operator’s profit beat expectations.
Data released on Wednesday showed that U.S. housing starts unexpectedly fell in January. A separate report showed producer prices rose last month and there were signs of an uptick in underlying producer inflation.
Inflation is being watched closely for signs of whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year.
Investors will get an insight on the Fed’s thinking when the minutes of the central bank’s January meeting are released at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT).
Fed Chair Janet Yellen has maintained that the central bank is still likely to raise rates in 2016. However, Fed funds futures suggest traders do not expect any increases this year.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,416 to 339. On the Nasdaq, 1,805 issues rose and 389 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 10 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded nine new highs and 12 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan and Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza and Ted Kerr)