U.S. stocks traded higher after initially opening mostly lower on Monday as investors awaited the beginning of earnings season this week.
“The key to this week is the kickoff to the big earnings,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. “Until we get big name earnings the market is probably not going to be much of anything.”
“Technically speaking the market is in pretty good shape,” he said. “That could change once earnings begin to flow in.”
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First quarter earnings season officially kicks off on Tuesday with blue chips JPMorgan reporting before the bell and Intel after the close.
“We really have a bias towards financials this week in terms of earnings reporting,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. “Everyone tries to extrapolate what JPMorgan means for P&G.”
“Last week was really driven by the strong energy trade and M&A,” he said.
Oil extended gains after last week’s rig count showed a slowdown in U.S. drilling. Crude rose above $52 a barrel and brent climbed to just below $59 a barrel.
“I think higher oil prices will probably serve as a balance to the market today,” Cardillo said.
The U.S. dollar continued to strengthen against major world currencies, with the euro lower below $1.06.
“Today really … is just a waiting game,” said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group. “A little bit of the dollar and oil. That’s going to help us but I’m not sure which way.”
U.S. Treasury yields held higher, with the 10-year Treasury note yield at 1.95 percent. The 2-year note yield was 0.55 percent.
U.S. stocks closed higher on Friday, marking a three-day rally with the Dow topping 18,000 for the first time in April as investors looked ahead to the official start of earnings season next week.
In U.S. corporate news, Sears struck a 50/50 joint venture deal with Simon Property, designed to unlock the real estate value in the 10 properties it will contribute to the venture. The news follows a similar deal with another mall operator, General Growth Properties, earlier this month.
Apple Watch customers will have to wait longer than expected for delivery, with Apple having pushed back shipping times to May and June after the new product saw a surge in orders. A Bank of America report estimates Apple will ship about four million Apple Watches during the June quarter.
Pandora gained after a Wall Street Journal report said rival Spotify was near a deal to raise $400 million in a round that values it at $8.4 billion.
—CNBC’s Peter Schacknow contributed to this report.
On tap this week:
Earnings: JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Johnson & Johnson, Intel, CSX, Linear Tech, JB Hunt Transportation, Fastenal
7:30 a.m.: NFIB small business survey
8:30 a.m.: Retail sales
8:30 a.m.: PPI
10 a.m.: Business inventories
8 p.m.: Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota
Earnings: Bank of America, US Bancorp, Burberry, Charles Schwab, PNC Financial, Netflix, SanDisk, Universal Forest Products, Progressive, ASML Holdings
8:30 a.m.: Empire State survey
9 a.m.: St. Louis Fed President James Bullard
9:15 a.m.: Industrial production
10 a.m.: NAHB survey
10:40 a.m.: Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, moderating IMF panel
2 p.m.: Beige Book
4 p.m.: TIC data
Earnings: BlackRock, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, American Express, Schlumberger, Celanese, Crown Holdings, UnitedHealth, Taiwan Semiconductor, Philip Morris, First Republic Bank, KeyCorp, Mattel, Sherwin-Williams, Sonoco Products, PPG Industries, WW Grainger
8:30 a.m.: Initial claims
8:30 a.m.: Housing starts
10 a.m.: Philadelphia Fed survey
1 p.m.: Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart
1:10 p.m.: Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester
1:30 p.m.: Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren
3 p.m.: Fed Vice Chairman Fischer on inflation at IMF spring meeting
Earnings: GE, Honeywell, Synchrony Financial, Comerica
8:30 a.m.: CPI
10 a.m.: Consumer sentiment