NEW YORK—Stocks opened higher Monday after their worst week this year.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 99 points at 13,179 in the first minutes of trading. The Standard & Poor's 500 was up 11 at 1,408. The Nasdaq composite index was higher by 26 at 3,093.

Last week, the S&P lost half a percent and the Dow more than 1 percent in a break from a strong rally in stocks this year.

Traders were digesting remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who said the U.S. job market remains weak despite three months of strong hiring and that Fed's existing policies will help increase growth.

Bernanke told a conference in Arlington, Va., that more job gains will probably require more robust demand from Americans and businesses. His comments suggested the Fed is ready to keep short-term interest rates near zero.

All 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 opened higher. Health care companies and industrial and materials stocks led the way with gains of more than 1 percent apiece. Fewer than 20 stocks in the S&P 500 were lower in the early going.

Lions Gate Entertainment was among the early winners on Wall Street. The stock climbed more than 5 percent after its movie "The Hunger Games" made $155 million on its opening weekend.

European markets were mostly higher. The benchmark index in Germany added more than 1 percent, and stocks also climbed in France and Germany. The euro gained half a penny against the dollar.


Advertisement

Wall Street this week will closely watch consumer confidence numbers due to be released Tuesday, as well as the final March numbers for consumer sentiment on Friday.