NEW YORK - U.S. stocks are solidly higher Monday as energy companies rise along with the price of oil. Banks, which have struggled recently, are also rising as bond yields increase. Utility companies are taking small losses.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 84 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,891 as of 1:09 p.m. ET. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose seven points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,106. The Nasdaq composite index picked up 20 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,963.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 99 cents, or 2 percent, to $49.61 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, gained 81 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $50.45 a barrel in London. That brought energy companies higher. Chesapeake Energy gained 30 cents, or 7.3 percent, to $4.39 and Exxon Mobil added 85 cents, or 1 percent, to $89.22.
The price of oil has rebounded over the last few months, but it's far lower than it was two years ago, and that's causing a lot of pain for energy companies.
Oil and gas exploration company Devon Energy said Monday it will sell almost $1 billion in assets later this year, sending its stock up $1.66, or 4.6 percent, to $37.58. Oilfield services company Hercules Offshore filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time in less than a year. Hercules plans to sell all of its assets to pay off investors, including international divisions. Its stock lost 11 cents, or 7.8 percent, to $1.30.
Rival oilfield service company Halliburton gained $1.95, or 4.6 percent, to $44.80 and Baker Hughes rose $2.64, or 5.7 percent, to $48.88.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is speaking to the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia, 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.
CF Industries climbed $2.19, or 7.7 percent, to $30.80 and Mosaic rose $1.42, or 5.3 percent, to $28.12. That helped pull materials and chemicals companies higher.
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 90 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $65.54 and Citigroup picked up 73 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $46.12.
Drugmaker AbbVie slid after investors were disappointed with results from a study of a lung cancer drug AbbVie is acquiring. In April AbbVie agreed to buy StemCentrx for $5.8 billion, gaining the company's stem cell treatment ova-T in the process. But after the results were announced, Abbvie declined $2.99, or 4.6 percent, to $62.01.
Food producer Tyson Foods slumped after a BMO Capital Markets analyst downgraded the food company to "Market Perform." Tyson stock fell $2.48, or 3.9 percent, to $60.73 but is up 48 percent over the last 12 months.
Retailers edged lower. Some of the biggest losses went to home improvement store chain Home Depot, which lost $3.12, or 2.4 percent, to $128.63 and its competitor Lowe's, which gave up $1.81, or 2.3 percent, to $78.20.
The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares jumped 1 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 0.2 percent and France's CAC 40 was little changed. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell nearly 0.4 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.4 percent.
The dollar rose to 107.32 yen from 106.68 yen. The euro inched up to $1.1355 from $1.1347.