Energy Companies Lead Stocks Higher

Energy Companies Lead Stocks Higher

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are solidly higher Monday morning as energy companies rise along with the price of oil. Fertilizer companies are also gaining ground, but retailers are slumping.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average gained 91 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,897 as of 10:05 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 8 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,107. The Nasdaq composite index picked up 15 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,957.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose $1.23, or 2.5 percent, to $49.85 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, gained $1.18, or 2.4 percent, to $50.83 a barrel in London. That brought energy companies higher. Chesapeake Energy gained 19 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $4.28 and Halliburton rose $1.48, or 3.5 percent, to $44.33. Exxon Mobil added 80 cents to $89.17.

US FOCUS: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will speak to the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia Monday afternoon, and, as always, investors will be looking for clues about the Fed's plans for interest rates. Until Friday most investors expected the Fed to raise interest rates in July, but after a surprisingly weak May jobs report, they are unsure of the Fed's intentions and fewer investors expect rates to go up. The Fed's policymakers will meet next week.

FERTILIZER: CF Industries climbed $1.09, or 4.1 percent, to $27.79 and Mosaic rose $1.67, or 5.8 percent, to $30.28. That helped pull materials and chemicals companies higher.

BANKS: Banks traded higher as bond yields made a modest recovery after a big drop on Friday. As bond prices fell, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 1.73 percent from 1.70 percent. Higher bond yields drive interest rates higher on long-term loans such as mortgages, which helps banks make more money from lending. JPMorgan Chase rose 52 cents to $65.16 and Citigroup picked up 21 cents to $45.60.

LAGGING THE MARKET: Retailers edged lower. Some of the biggest losses went to home improvement store chain Home Depot, which lost $2.45, or 1.9 percent, to $129.29 and its competitor Lowe's, which gave up $1.45, or 1.8 percent, to $78.56.

OVERSEAS: The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares jumped 1.4 percent as polls showed voters in the U.K. want the nation to leave the European Union. Britain will hold a referendum on membership in the 28-nation bloc on June 23 and campaigning is heating up. The British pound weakened based on the latest polls. Elsewhere Germany's DAX rose 0.4 percent and France's CAC 40 was up 0.2 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell nearly 0.4 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.4 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 107.16 yen from 106.68 yen. The euro inched up to $1.1350 from $1.1347.