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US: Oil, Apple push Wall St higher

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street opened slightly higher on Monday, following a bruising week, helped by Apple and a surge in oil prices.

Apple shares rose 1.6 per cent to US$91.96 after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway reported a stake worth about US$1 billion in the iPhone maker.

Oil jumped over 3 per cent to its highest since November 2015 on growing Nigerian output disruptions and after Goldman Sachs said the market had ended almost two years of oversupply and flipped to a deficit.

US stocks fell on Friday as gloomy quarterly reports from retailers overshadowed upbeat April retail sales data, leaving the Dow and the S&P 500 lower for the third straight week.

"The market has been shaken by the depth and breadth of the negativity coming out of the retailing stocks," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey. "The market is going to have to make an evaluation if this is going to be a one-time blip or is something that continues to bear down."

At 9:40 am ET (1340 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 58.07 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 17,593.39, the S&P 500 was up 6.41 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 2,053.02 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 19.32 points, or 0.41 per cent, at 4,736.99.

Seven of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with the energy index's 1.24 per cent rise leading the gainers.

Oil majors Chevron and Exxon were up about 1 per cent in early trading, providing the biggest boost to the sector.

Investors will also be keeping a watch on data scheduled to be released on Monday. NAHB Housing Market index is expected to have increased to 59 in May from 58 last month. The data is expected at 10 am ET.

Investors have been keeping a sharp eye on data for clues regarding the path of interest rate hikes. Some Federal Reserve officials have hinted at two rate hikes this year, but traders are pricing in only one.

While the S&P 500 has risen about 15 per cent since February lows, that rally fizzled out in the last few weeks due to disappointing corporate earnings and mixed economic data.

Tribune Publishing was up 19 per cent at US$13.65 after Gannett raised its buyout offer to US$15 per share. Gannett was down 0.8 per cent at US$15.50.

Anacor Pharmaceuticals jumped 54.5 per cent to US$98.94 after Pfizer said it would buy the drugmaker in a deal valued at US$5.2 billion. Pfizer was down 0.7 per cent at US$32.93.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,076 to 621. On the Nasdaq, 1,585 issues rose and 713 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed three new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 15 new highs and 21 new lows.

REUTERS