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Mon. 10:42 a.m.: Wall Street opens higher; solar sector lifted by budget deal

The New York Stock Exchange is pictured in New York. Stocks are opening slightly higher this morning. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are opening slightly higher on Wall Street with gains spread widely across sectors. Pharmaceutical company Viatris is leading the S&P 500 higher after it reported strong quarterly results this morning. The benchmark index is up 0.6 percent 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 is up 3.4 percent. Investors will continue to focus on inflation, with reports on consumer and producer prices due this week.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story appears below.

U.S. markets pointed toward gains before the opening bell this morning ahead of another week of corporate earnings and the release of more crucial inflation data from the U.S.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5 percent and futures for the S&P 500 ticked up 0.6 percent.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 lost 0.2 percent on Friday after government data showed American employers added twice the number of jobs expected to be created in July. That has complicated the job of the Federal Reserve, which may be forced to continue with aggressive interest rate hikes intended to cool the economy and soaring inflation.

“Now it seems they will be debating whether they need to be even more aggressive,” Edward Moya of Oanda said in a report.

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

Investors worry tighter policy from the Fed and central banks in Europe and Asia to cool inflation that is running at multi-decade highs might derail global economic growth.

Last week’s strong U.S. employment data gave ammunition to Fed officials who 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 of half a point. That would be triple the usual margin and the third such outsized hike this year.

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

Markets also have been rattled by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which caused a spike in prices of oil, wheat and other commodities, and by uncertainty about Chinese anti-virus curbs that have disrupted manufacturing and shipping.

Palantir slid more than 13 percent 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 targeted.

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

In midday trading in Europe, the FTSE 100 in London was up 0.6 percent, the DAX in Frankfurt added 0.8 percent and the CAC 40 in Paris advanced 1.1 percent.

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

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

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.8 percent to 20,050.15 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.2 percent to 26.241.13.

The Kospi in Seoul gained less than 0.1 percent to 2,493.10 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 shed less than 0.1 percent to 7,020.60.

India’s Sensex gained 0.9 percent at 58,892.25. Taiwan, New Zealand, Singapore and Bangkok retreated while Jakarta gained.

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

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

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

Wall Street is coming off its best month for stocks since late 2020, a rally driven by falling bond yields. Traders hoped the economy was slowing enough for the Fed to ease off.

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