U.S. stocks slightly advanced in early trade on Friday, led by gains from energy and material shares as commodity prices surged expectations of stronger demand and weaker dollar.
The S&P 500 Index gained 2.77 points, or 0.19 percent, to trade at 1,336.02 at 9:50 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 11.96 points, or 0.10 percent, to trade at 12,421.45. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.17 percent.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM) gained 0.5 percent and Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX)advanced 0.4 percent after crude oil futures surged to $111.28 a barrel as fire burned at Libya’s Sarir field igniting fears about the OPEC-member's ability to get its production back online.
Drilling contractor Nabors Industries gained 3.9 percent after the company stock was upgraded to “outperform” rating from “neutral” rating at Macquarie.
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE:FCX) shares advanced 2.04 percent to $58.61 in early trading session. Gold advanced to a new record this morning as a weaker dollar and concerns about inflation and European debt boosted demand for the metal as an alternative investment.
Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPE) stock surged 11.18 percent to $24.91 in early trade as its board of directors has preliminarily approved a plan to separate the company into two publicly traded entities -- Expedia Inc. and TripAdvisor. The proposed spin-off is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2011.
U.S. stocks ended lower on Thursday after a major aftershock in Japan triggered new fears about a nuclear crisis, but better-than-expected jobless claims data and monthly retail sales data held losses in check.
The euro advanced 0.91 percent to 1.4438 against the dollar and the yen declined 0.31 percent against the greenback.
European stock markets are currently trading higher with FTSE 100 up by 57.63 points and DAX30 up by 45.81 points, while CAC 40 up by 38.08 points.