Wall Street opens higher; solar sector lifted by budget deal

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks opened slightly higher on Wall Street with gains broadly spread across sectors. Pharmaceutical company Viatris led the S&P 500 higher after reporting strong quarterly results early Monday. The benchmark index is up 0.6% just after the opening bell, and the Nasdaq and Dow Jones industrials are also rising. Senate approval for Democrats’ big election-year economic package is lifting clean energy companies: SunPower rises 3.4%. Investors will continue to focus on inflation, with consumer and producer price reports due this week.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. The previous AP story appears below.

US markets pointed to gains ahead of the opening bell on Monday ahead of another week of business earnings and the release of more crucial US inflation data

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 0.5% and S&P 500 futures rose 0.6%.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 lost 0.2 percent on Friday after government data showed U.S. employers added twice as many jobs as expected in July. This has complicated the job of the Federal Reserve, which may be forced to continue aggressive interest rate hikes aimed at cooling the economy and rising inflation.

“Now it looks like they will debate whether to be even more aggressive,” Oanda’s Edward Moya said in a report.

The US government releases its consumer price index for July on Wednesday and its measure of wholesale inflation on Thursday.

Investors fear that tighter policy by the Fed and central banks in Europe and Asia to cool inflation nearing multi-decade highs could derail global economic growth.

Last week’s strong US jobs data gave Fed officials ammunition to say the economy can tolerate higher borrowing costs to cool inflation. After Friday’s announcement, traders expect the Fed to raise its benchmark rate by 0.75 percentage points next month, up from forecasts by half a point. That would be triple the usual margin and the third increase this year.

Higher interest rates are intended to counter inflation by cooling business activity, but this also increases the risk of recession and job losses. The latest inflation spike is unusual because forecasters have blamed shortages of goods due to the coronavirus pandemic, rather than rapid economic growth.

Markets have also been hit by Russia’s war against Ukraine, which has sent prices of oil, wheat and other commodities soaring, and by uncertainty over Chinese virus crackdowns that have disrupted manufacturing and shipping

Palantir fell more than 13% in premarket after the software company reported an unexpected second-quarter loss and forecast lower sales for the current quarter and year than Wall Street analysts had expected .

Shares of Global Blood Therapeutics rose about 4% before the bell after Pfizer said it will buy the company for about $5.4 billion. Global Blood Therapeutics jumped 33% on Friday after media reports suggested a deal was in the works.

In midday trading in Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.6%, Frankfurt’s DAX was up 0.8% and Paris’ CAC 40 was up 1.1%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.3 percent to 3,236.93 after China’s July exports rose 18 percent from a year earlier, beating forecasts.

China’s trade surplus widened to $101 billion in July after imports rose just 2.3 percent a year ago, reflecting weak domestic demand.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.8% to 20,050.15, while Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.2% to 26,241.13.

Seoul’s Kospi gained less than 0.1% to 2,493.10 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was down less than 0.1% to 7,020.60.

India’s Sensex gained 0.9% to 58,892.25. Taiwan, New Zealand, Singapore and Bangkok bowed out while Jakarta won.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude fell 86 cents to $88.15 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 47 cents to $89.01 on Friday. Brent crude, the price benchmark for international trade, was down $1.02 at $93.90 a barrel in London. It gained 80 cents to $94.92 in the previous session.

The dollar fell to 134.85 yen from 135.11 on Friday. The euro advanced to $1.0200 from $1.0178.

On Friday, the Dow added 0.2% while the Nasdaq lost 0.5%.

Wall Street is coming off its best month for stocks since late 2020, a rally fueled by falling bond yields. Traders were hoping the economy would slow enough for the Fed to relax.

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