Wall Street opens higher on firmer oil prices

US stock markets got off to a mildly positive start, clawing back some of yesterday's losses, as crude oil prices recover from the production data-led downturn.

In economic news, jobless claims rose slightly from last week and manufacturing activity was on the decline, month-on-month.

Shortly after the open, the Dow was up 0.19% at 20,443.19, the S&P 500 added 0.22% to 2,343.42, while the Nasdaq pushed 0.43% higher to 5,888.28.

RISERS AND FALLERS

American Express was the standout riser on the DJIA in early trading, up 3%, with General Electric, Goldman Sachs and Nike also making positive progress.

Travelers and Verizon were leading to the downside, with both stocks off by around 2%.

COMMODITIES

At 2:45pm (GMT), WTI crude was higher at $50.53/bbl, as was Brent, at $52.96/bbl. Gold was lower at $1,281/oz.

ECONOMIC NEWS

US initial claims in the week ending April 15 was 244k, an increase of 10k from the previous week's unrevised level of 234k, the US Department of Labor said today.

The Philly-Fed index for current manufacturing activity in the region decreased from a reading of 32.8 in March to 22.0 this month, according to firms responding to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's manufacturing business outlook survey.

The Conference Boards' Leading Economic Index reading is also due later today.