US Stocks Open Moderately Lower

US Stocks Open Moderately Lower

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are opening moderately higher on Wall Street as the market comes off three days of losses. Banks rose the most in early trading Monday. Herbalife rose after activist investor Carl Icahn, the company's largest shareholder, said he has increased his stake.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 72 points, or 0.4 percent, to 18,467 as of 10:09 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 8 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,177. The Nasdaq edged up 12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,231.

FED EFFECT: The dollar was trading higher against other major currencies after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told a conference last week that the case for raising interest rates was becoming stronger given improvements in the U.S. economy. The prospect of higher rates sent the dollar higher against the Japanese yen and the euro.

"While the rate hike has not yet happened, markets have already begun to move and shift with the assumption of a hike," Margaret Yang Yan, market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore.

RATE RELIEF: Banks and other financial companies rose more than the rest of the market in early trading as traders anticipated that interest rates could move higher in the coming months. Banks have been in a bind with interest rates at historic lows, since it makes lending money less profitable. Banks are still one of the biggest laggards on the stock market over the past year. Wells Fargo, the nation's largest mortgage lender, rose 68 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $49.19 and Bank of America rose 17 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $15.96.

STILL A BELIEVER: Herbalife added $2.40, or 4 percent, after Icahn said late Friday had had bought an additional 2.3 million shares in the supplements and weight-loss products company, and that he never gave an order to sell his $1 billion stake. A Wall Street Journal report earlier Friday said that the investment bank Jefferies had been looking for buyers for Icahn's position.

OVERSEAS: France's CAC 40 lost 0.7 percent and Germany's DAX fell 0.5 percent. The London Stock Exchange was closed for a summer bank holiday. Earlier in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 2.3 percent South Korea's Kospi fell 0.3 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.4 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 82 cents to $46.82 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price oil internationally, lost 78 cents to $49.37 a barrel.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.60 percent from 1.63 percent. The dollar rose to 102.30 yen from 101.86 yen late Friday. The euro fell to $1.1170 from $1.1183.

(KA)