U.S. stocks opened higher on Monday as a rise in oil prices boosted energy stocks, soothing some nerves following a massive cyber attack that locked up 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries. Oil hit a three-week high after top exporters Saudi Arabia and Russia said supply cuts needed to last into 2018, a step towards extending an OPEC-led deal to support prices for longer than originally agreed. Shares of oil majors Exxon and Chevron rose in early trading.
“On the one hand, this is good news because we are looking at a situation where we would not have to worry oil production and its baggage for some time,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK Ltd. “On the negative side, we think that traders are reading too much into this situation and … the current production cut has not been able to produce any substantial results so far.” At 9:34 a.m. ET (1334 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 60.64 points, or 0.29 percent, at 20,957.25, the S&P 500 was up 5.95 points, or 0.24 percent, at 2,396.85 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 11.74 points, or 0.19 percent, at 6,132.97.
Ten of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with the energy index’s 1.29 percent rise leading the advancers. Investors seemed to mostly shrug off fears from a successful missile test by North Korea and a cyberattack that disrupted operations at car factories, hospitals, shops and schools. Shares of cybersecurity firms such as Fireye, Symantec, Palo Alto Networks and Cyberark Software were all up. U.S. stocks slipped on Friday, ending the week lower as tepid economic data weighed on banks and worries deepened over department stores.
Soft retail sales and monthly inflation data on Friday raised concerns about slow economic growth. The tepid economic data comes on the heels of a strong quarterly earnings season. Earnings at S&P 500 companies are expected to have grown 14.5 percent in the first quarter – the best showing since 2011, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The NAHB Housing Market Index for May, is expected to remain unchanged at 68 from the month before. The data is expected at 10 a.m. ET.
Tesla was down 3.6 percent at $313.30 after Morgan Stanley downgraded its rating on the electric-car maker’s stock. Patheon NV soared 33 percent to $34.59 after Thermo Fisher Scientific said it would buy Dutch drug ingredients maker for about $5.2 billion. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,927 to 597. On the Nasdaq, 1,556 issues rose and 664 fell. The S&P 500 index showed nine new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 44 new highs and nine new lows.