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Overnight Markets: Gains in energy stocks lift Wall Street

However, market sentiment remained cautious going into the first-quarter earnings season.

Overnight Markets: Gains in energy stocks lift Wall Street

Wall Street closed higher on Monday in morning session as gains in energy stocks offset losses in financials ahead of quarterly earnings later this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up two points, or 0.01%, to 20,658, the S&P 500 gained two points, or 0.07%, to 2,357 and the Nasdaq Composite added three points, or 0.05%, to 5,881.

Geopolitical tensions added to investor unease. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday the military strikes against Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons were a warning to other nations, including North Korea, that "a response is likely" if they pose a danger.

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the Mar-a-Lago in Florida last week, in which the two leaders struck a friendly note.

Energy stocks received a boost from oil, which rose 1.61% to settle at $53.08 per barrel after Libya's largest oilfield was shut down.

Investors prepared for the start of quarterly profit reports. JP Morgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo are scheduled to report earnings on Thursday.

Bank stocks have retreated of late as investors question lofty valuations and Trump's ability to swiftly introduce simpler regulations and other policies following the failure of a healthcare reform bill. Bank of America fell 0.6%, while Wells Fargo & Co. lost 0.6%.

In company news, Straight Path Communications surged nearly two-fold to $89.71 after AT&T offered a huge premium to buy the owner of wireless spectrum licenses.

Swift Transportation jumped 23.6% after agreeing to a merger with fellow trucking company Knight Transportation. Knight's shares were up 13.8%.

Okta Inc. fell 1.1% after the software company’s stock soared in its trading debut Friday. Shares of United Continental Holdings Inc. rose 0.9% despite the airline attracting negative attention on Monday after a video showing a passenger being forcibly removed from a flight was widely circulated.

Stocks around Asia were trading mixed on Monday in morning session, after a jittery few days in which geopolitical risks had come to the fore.

Japan’s benchmark Topix was down 0.4%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.6%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.1%, while China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.3%. South Korea’s Kospi Index fell 0.71%.

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