United States stock market opens higher

Randall Padilla
May 18, 2017

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended flat at 20,979.75, reversing an earlier gain of 0.2%.

On the corporate front, cyber security firms were in demand after the "WannaCr" ransomware attack that hit last Friday, with Symantec, Palo Alto Networks and FireEye all in the black.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was up 1 cent to at $48.86 a barrel in NY. It's close to topping $50 for the first time in almost three weeks. Oil prices surged on Monday, reversing big dips seen last week and putting commodities at two-week highs, after energy ministers from Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia surprised markets by calling for an extension to an oil production cap agreement. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, added 38 cents to $52.20 in London.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index maintained its relentless upward pace, climbing 0.3% to a new record of 6,169.87. Only two of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors closed higher, with technology.SPLRCT providing the biggest boost. The S&P 500 had lost 3.48 points, or 0.14 percent, to 2,398.84 easing from an all-time high of 2,405.77. Read Commodities Are Stable, Crude Oil Rose to 3-Week Highs to learn more about movements in oil prices.

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Editor's pick: What investors can learn from a Navy SEAL, a cheap bank stock, and how ETFs are taking over the TSXInvestors were also cautious about potential delays to the government's tax and regulation reform agenda after reports late Monday that President Donald Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russia's foreign minister about a planned Islamic State operation. This has helped oil prices to move higher once more, but the cartel appears to get diminishing returns each time it announces a reduction in output. The index was 58 in May a year ago.

"It is not just because they're necessarily thinking about anything as extreme as impeachment, but investors are anxious that Congress won't be able to get anything done in this increasingly insane environment in Washington", said Chris Low, chief economist of FTN Financial. "I don't think we see any dark clouds on the horizon, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a 5 to 10 percent drawdown from now to year-end". Besides the uncertainty about what will happen on the Korean peninsula or in Washington, upcoming elections in the United Kingdom, France and potentially Italy could also upset what's become a lazy ride for markets. The stock gained $1.97, or 1.3 percent, to $159.30. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index slipped 0.1 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 0.9 percent to 25,371.59.

The Russell 2000 is up 11.91 points, or 0.9 percent.

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