Finance

United States stocks solidly higher in early trading; oil rises

United States stocks solidly higher in early trading; oil rises

Stock-index futures point to a slightly higher open for Wall Street on Thursday, with the Dow average on track for another record a day after dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen encouraged investors to dive back into the stock market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 20.95 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,553.09, the S&P 500 gained 4.61 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,447.86 and the Nasdaq Composite added 13.27 points, or 0.21 percent, to 6,274.44.

The testimony boosted the Dow Jones by 0.6% to 21,532.14 - a record. Among early movers, Target Corp. jumped after raising sales and profit outlooks for the second quarter.

In Europe, the CAC 40 in France was up 0.5 percent at 5,249 while Germany's DAX rose 0.1 percent to 12,632.

Wall Street posted slight gains on Thursday and the Dow hit another record high close, with financials rising ahead of profit reports due Friday from several big USA banks. The remarks assuaged concerns among some traders that the Fed was raising interest rates too quickly in the face of stalling inflation and sluggish USA economic growth, setting off a broad market rally.

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Today, Yellen will deliver her second day of semiannual monetary policy testimony before the Senate Banking Committee. The stock gained $2.44, or 4.8 percent, to $53.31. Among the biggest gainers, Chesapeake Energy Corp. added 1.7% while Exxon Mobil Corp. was up 0.8%.

Snap Inc. surged 3% after Stifel Nicolaus upgraded the Snapchat parent to buy, saying that a recent selloff in the stock had created a "compelling" opportunity.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 1.34 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,425.66. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was flat.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,446.

CHINA TRADE: Chinese trade growth accelerated for a second month in June in a positive sign for global demand and the world's No. 2 economy. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, fell 30 cents to $47.44 per barrel. PayPal gained $1.35, or 2.4 percent, to $57.90.