U.S. stocks opened higher on Wednesday amid signs of an easing of tensions in Ukraine and Iraq, which overshadowed weak U.S. retail sales data and corporate forecasts from bellwethers including Macy's.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 55.89 points or 0.34 percent, to 16,616.43, the S&P 500 gained 8.9 points or 0.46 percent, to 1,942.65 and the Nasdaq Composite added 19.86 points or 0.45 percent, to 4,409.11.