US opens higher on stronger dollar

Trading on Wall Street got off to a moderately upbeat start, despite ongoing global political uncertainty, as the dollar strengthened on the prospect of an interest rate increase as soon as March.

News that the US trade deficit fell slightly in December, to $44.3bn, provided some additional reassurance.

Shortly after the open, the Dow was up 93.78 points at 20,146.2, the S&P 500 added 6.21 points to 2,298.77 and the Nasdaq gained 15.2 points to 5,678.75.

Caterpillar, Boeing, NVIDIA and IBM were among the early risers, up between 1% and 2%, while 21st Century Fox and Liberty Global were weaker in early trading.

At 2:55pm (GMT), WTI crude was lower at $52.30/bbl, as was Brent at $55.08/bbl. Gold was trading around $1,231/oz.

Further economic releases due later today include the latest JOLTS job openings report and monthly consumer credit data.