Wall Street opens higher as North Korea tension eases

A trader works on the floor at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on Aug 8, 2017 in New York.
A trader works on the floor at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on Aug 8, 2017 in New York. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Wall Street opened higher on Monday (Aug 14), with broad gains across sectors, as investor sentiment was lifted by easing tensions in the Korean peninsula after key US officials played down the risk of an imminent war with North Korea. All the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with S&P financial's 1.12 per cent rise leading the gainers.

Global stocks lost nearly US$1 trillion (S$1.38 trillion) last week after President Donald Trump warned North Korea that it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States, leading to a war of words between Pyongyang and Washington.

However, US officials including National Security Adviser H R McMaster and CIA Director Mike Pompeo played down the risk on Sunday, while South Korea's president said resolving Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions must be done peacefully.

"Feels as though the North Korean tension seems to be abating a bit, with commentary coming out of China and the United States. But the situation seems to have de-escalated in the near term", said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. "After the one and a half percent self-off last week, we got a bit of a investor attitude to buy the dip," Mr Hogan said.

At 9:39 a.m. ET (9:39 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 129.25 points, or 0.59 per cent, at 21,987.57 and the S&P 500 was up 19.63 points, or 0.80 per cent, at 2,460.95. The Nasdaq Composite was up 61.57 points, or 0.98 per cent, at 6,318.12. Oil prices fell as a slowdown in Chinese refining raised concerns about demand in the world's second-biggest consumer, while an increase in US drilling capacity could deepen a global supply glut.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,250 to 376. On the Nasdaq, 1,920 issues rose and 518 fell.