- Crimea vote to rejoin Russia
- EU, US sanction officials
- US industrial production beats forecasts
Dow Jones: 1.14%
S&P 500: 0.74%
US stocks opened with strong gains on Monday as investors shrugged off rising geopolitical pressures after Crimea's resounding vote to rejoin the Russian Federation.
Tensions between Moscow and the West have escalated in the aftermath of the Crimea referendum at the weekend with both European Union and US leaders sanctioning several Russian and Ukrainian officials in retaliation to what they see as an unconstitutional vote.
Nevertheless, the S&P 500
was 0.7% higher at 1,860 shortly after the opening bell, after having fallen 2% last week.
"For now, the markets are happy to push higher, especially in the absence of anything else weighing on sentiment. The lack of economic data is actually working in the markets favour to an extent today," said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
"The last week or so has been fairly negative, so a lack of developments in Crimea and poor economic data, which we've had an abundance of so far this year, is allowing for a bit of a correction."
The only major piece of economic data for release today was US industrial production figures which showed that output rose 0.6% in February.
This compared with a revised 0.2% fall in January and ahead of the 0.2% growth expected, which "suggests that the economy is waking up after hibernating during the past few months of unusually bad weather," according to Senior US Economist Paul Dales from Capital Economics.
The degree of capacity utilisation rose to 78.8% from 78.5% the previous month, ahead of the consensus estimate of 78.6%.
In other news, the so-called Empire State manufacturing index rose from 4.48 to 5.61 in March but came in under the 6.50 forecast.
Hertz, Keurig Green Mountain
Car hire firm Hertz Global Holdings climbed after the Financial Times reported that the company will spin off its equipment-rentals unit in a deal expected to value the unit at around $4.5bn.
Keurig Green Mountain advanced after S&P Dow Jones Indices said the coffee maker will join its benchmark index for US stocks.
Intercept Pharmaceuticals declined after the drug maker said "serious adverse events" occurred in a drug trial for its liver-disease treatment.
Yahoo! rebounded from losses on March 14th following reports Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding, in which it holds a 24% stake, may file for an initial public offering in the US as soon as next month.
The yield on a benchmark 10-year US Treasury was up one basis point at 2.68%.
West Texas crude futures were down 0.22% at $98.67 a barrel on the NYMEX.