MARKET SNAPSHOT: Stock Market Opens Higher, Tries To Shake Off North Korea, Hurricane Woes

By Mark DeCambre and Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Cruise operators cancel or reroute sailings as Irma hits

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U.S. stock benchmarks opened modestly higher Wednesday, as Wall Street attempted to power past a barrage of headwinds, including lingering concerns over North Korea, a "potentially catastrophic" Hurricane Irma and doubts about President Donald Trump's business-friendly agenda.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 70 points, or 0.3%, at 21,824, led by gains in Home Depot Inc.(HD), while the S&P 500 index climbed 6 points, or 0.2%, at 2,463, powered by a rebound in the financials, up 0.5%, and energy sector, up 0.8%, rose in early trade.

Meanwhile, the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Index gained 11 points, or 0.2%, at 6,388.

U.S. stocks closed firmly lower on Tuesday, as investors focused on heightened geopolitical tensions after North Korea said it had successfully tested its biggest-ever nuclear bomb (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/north-korea-hails-perfect-success-of-latest-nuclear-test-triggering-magnitude-63-earthquake-2017-09-03). The S&P 500 index snapped a six-day winning run (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wall-street-stocks-set-for-downbeat-open-as-north-korea-standoff-intensifies-2017-09-05), closing 0.8% lower, while the Dow average finished down 1.1% and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.9%.

"There is clear concern about the escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea which has culminated in repeated stints of risk-off trading in recent weeks," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a note.

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"With the increasingly frequent tests in North Korea triggering such moves, it's making traders a little more anxious than normal and it seems that for now, sitting on the sidelines is preferred," he said.

North Korea is feared to be preparing to launch a new intercontinental ballistic missile as soon as Sept. 9, when the isolated country celebrates its founding day.

Adding to the downbeat tone was Hurricane Irma, which was barreling toward U.S. territory (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/potentially-catastrophic-hurricane-irma-makes-landfall-in-the-caribbean-2017-09-06) in the Caribbean and potentially Florida, where a state of emergency has been declared (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/florida-declares-state-of-emergency-as-hurricane-irma-heads-for-region-2017-09-05). Irma was Tuesday upgraded to a Category 5 storm as it gathered strength in the Atlantic Ocean. On Wednesday morning, it made landfall in the Caribbean, with the eye passing over Barbuda.

Cruise operators have been forced to cancel or reroute sailings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/irma-forces-cruise-operators-to-cancel-sailings-2017-09-06) as Irma heads toward popular Caribbean destinations. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.(NCLH) has canceled trips, while Carnival Corp.(CCL) has revised the itineraries of four ships. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.(RCL) is evaluating five sailings.

Read:One way Irma could affect the U. S.--even if it misses Florida (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/one-way-hurricane-irma-could-affect-the-us-even-if-it-misses-florida-2017-09-05)

Another tropical storm, Jose, is gathering strength in the Atlantic and may shape up as another major storm. The weather threats come after Hurricane Harvey caused devastating flooding in Texas, forcing the temporary closure of oil refineries.

Economic news: On the economic front, the trade deficit rose slightly in July, keeping the U.S. on track to post a larger gap in 2017 than in 2016. The deficit edged up to $43.7 billion in July from $43.5 billion in June.

Looking ahead, the Markit services purchasing managers index for August at 9:45 a.m. Eastern.

The ISM nonmanufacturing index is due for release at 10 a.m. Eastern, while the Federal Reserve beige book is on the docket for 2 p.m.

See: MarketWatch's economic calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

Stock movers: U.S.-listed shares of Trivago NV(TRVG) plunged 28% after the German hotel search platform cut its guidance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/german-hotel-search-site-trivago-issues-profit-warning-shares-tumble-18-premarket-2017-09-06), saying earnings for the third quarter and full year would be lower than previously expected.

Shares of Dave & Buster's Entertainment(PLAY) slumped 6.2% after its second-quarter results disappointed Wall Street expectations and trimmed its fiscal full-year outlook late-Tuesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dave-busters-shares-fall-after-second-quarter-sales-miss-2017-09-05).

Voyager Therapeutics Inc.(VYGR) soared 28% after the drugmaker announced positive trial results for a treatment for advanced Parkinson's disease.

JinkoSolar Holding Co. (JKS) lost 5% after earnings missed views, while Navistar International Corp. (NAV) gained 1% after swinging to a profit (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/navistar-swings-to-profit-that-beats-expectations-2017-09-06).

Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.(HPE) declined 1.7%. The company late Tuesday reported earnings that beat forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hewlett-packard-enterprise-beats-on-earnings-after-spin-off-shares-gain-2017-09-05) after the spinoff of some software assets.

Other markets:Asian stocks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nikkei-hits-4-month-low-as-asian-markets-continue-selloff-2017-09-05) closed mainly lower, while European stocks continued lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-head-for-3rd-straight-loss-as-irma-weighs-on-insurers-2017-09-06) for a third straight day.

Oil prices (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/crude-oil-rises-to-4-week-high-as-hurricane-irma-makes-landfall-2017-09-06) rose, while gold prices were flat. The dollar was little changed against other major currencies, with the ICE Dollar Index at 92.247.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 06, 2017 09:44 ET (13:44 GMT)