Stocks Open Higher After Strong Oracle, Nike Earnings

U.S. stocks opened higher Friday as Wall Street, looking to resume this week's rally, drew confidence from strong earnings from Oracle Corp (ORCL).

After the market closed Thursday, the software maker reported a 25 percent jump in quarterly profit and said its software sales accelerated at the fastest pace in seven years. Nike Inc. (NKE)also cheered investors late Thursday, when the athletic shoe and clothing company said its quarterly profit rose by 51 percent.

In early trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 71.78, or 0.52 percent, to 13,838.48.

Broader stock indicators rose. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 7.89, or 0.52 percent, to 1,526.64, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 14.67, or 0.55 percent, to 2,668.96.

Bonds rose, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note falling to 4.64 percent from Thursday's close of 4.69 percent. Treasurys have sold off for three straight sessions amid concerns about the possibility of increasing inflation and the prospect of Saudi Arabia lightening its U.S. government holdings. The gains on Wall Street have also drained some money out of the bond market.

The pair of earnings reports served as a positive sign that despite the recent market turmoil and apparent slowdown in consumer spending, many companies are still thriving.

Some mixed earnings reports, along with a weak dollar and record-high oil prices, contributed to a dip Thursday in the stock market. But Wall Street is trading more optimistically this week than it has in a while, following the Federal Reserve's half-point interest rate cut Tuesday.

Crude oil futures for November pulled back by 39 cents to $81.39 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, the October contract, now expired, closed at an all-time high above $83 a barrel. Gold prices rose.

The dollar bounced back after hitting another record low against the euro, which surpassed $1.41 for the first time.

There are no major economic reports scheduled to be released Friday. Instead, Wall Street's focus is on corporate news and speeches by Fed officials, including Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser.

In corporate news, Oracle rose 89 cents, or 4.2 percent, to $21.93, while Nike rose 94 cents to $59.26 following their quarterly reports.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners about 5 to 2 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 672.6 million shares.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 3.58, or 0.44 percent, to 813.34.

In trading abroad, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.35 percent, Germany's DAX index rose 0.56 percent, and France's CAC-40 rose 0.07 percent. In Asia earlier, Japan's Nikkei index fell 0.62 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.56 percent.