Wall Street rises as oil price jump boosts energy shares

A hike in oil prices led to a rise in energy stocks as the Dow Jones and  the Nasdaq opened for the start of the business week.
A hike in oil prices led to a rise in energy stocks as the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq opened for the start of the business week.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US 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 (9:34 p.m Singapore time), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 60.64 points, or 0.29 per cent, at 20,957.25, the S&P 500 was up 5.95 points, or 0.24 per cent, at 2,396.85 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 11.74 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 6,132.97.

Ten of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with the energy index's 1.29 per cent 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.

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 per cent in the first quarter - the best showing since 2011, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.