U.S. stocks open higher despite Ukraine worries; Dow Jones up 0.57%

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Investing.com - U.S. stocks opened higher on Monday, as trading volumes were expected to remain thin in the absence of any major U.S. economic reports throughout the session, while investors continued to monitor developments in Ukraine.

During early U.S. trade, the Dow 30 climbed 0.57%, the S&P 500 gained 0.60%, while the NASDAQ Composite advanced 0.73%.

Markets were jittery after pro-Russian separatists claimed victory in a weekend referendum on self-rule in eastern Ukraine, fuelling fears that the country is sliding closer to civil war. The vote has been condemned by Ukraine's government and the West.

European foreign ministers were set to meet in Brussels later Monday to discuss tighter sanctions against Russia.

In the tech sector, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares rose 0.38%, still supported by reports last week that the iPhone maker is nearing an acquisition of Beats Electronics LLC for $3.2 billion.

In similar news, Rupert Murdoch's British Sky Broadcasting Group (LONDON:BSY) said it is in talks to buy the Italian and German pay-TV assets of Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOX). The deal for control of satellite carriers Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland would reportedly be valued at about $14 billion.

Twenty-First Century Fox, which owns 39% of BSkyB, saw shares surge 3.81% following the news.

Elsewhere, Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) gained 0.83% amid its ongoing attempts to acquire U.K. rival Astrazeneca (LONDON:AZN). Pfizer boss Ian Read was set to appear before a U.K. business select committee on Tuesday alongside Astrazeneca's Pascal Soriot.

In the same sector, the board of Allergan (NYSE:AGN), down 0.84%, turned down an unsolicited offer from Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX), as it was considered as significantly undervaluing the drug developer. Valeant shares dropped 0.70% at the open of the U.S. trading session.

Hillshire Brands (NYSE:HSH) added to losses, plummeting 3.82%, after the branded foods giant said it would pay about $6.6 billion to purchase Pinnacle Foods (NYSE:PF), whose shares skyrocketed 15.70% following the news.

Other stocks likely to be in focus included Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT), Macy's (NYSE:M) and JC Penney (NYSE:JCP), scheduled to report quarterly results later in the day.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 gained 0.76%, France's CAC 40 rose 0.28%, Germany's DAX jumped 1.31%, while Britain's FTSE 100 advanced 0.47%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.82%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 shed 0.35%.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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