Easing of Ukraine tensions helps drive stocks up

FILE - This Jan. 4, 2010 file photo shows an entrance to a Wall Street subway station in New York. U.S. stocks are opening higher Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, as tensions ease in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks rose Monday as positive corporate news provided some balance after escalating geopolitical upheaval.

Tensions in the Ukraine appeared to ease and subdued Chinese inflation helped push stock markets higher from Europe to Asia.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose seven points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,938, as of 3:19 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 30 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,584 percent. The Nasdaq composite gained 32 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,403.

KINDRED SPIRITS: Kinder Morgan gained $3.31, or 9.2 percent, to $39.45. The company said Sunday that the group of oil and gas pipeline and storage companies that it controls will combine to create the 4th biggest U.S. energy company by market value. Currently, the companies trade separately.

PRICELINE EARNINGS: Shares of The Priceline Group Inc. rose $35.45, or 2.8 percent, to $1,317 after the company reported second-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street expectations. The online travel company said the summer season got off to a strong start. Shares of rival Expedia Inc. gained $1.60, or 1.9 percent, to $84.16.

GEOPOLITICS: After taking a jab last week at the West with a ban on food imports, Russia called an end to military exercises near Ukraine and withdrew troops. Though fears of a Russian invasion have eased, other volatile geopolitical developments remain on the radar. In Iraq, U.S. warplanes attacked Islamic State militants near the northern city of Irbil, capital of the Kurdish region.

THE QUOTE: Monday's rally is "a lot about geopolitics, and the fact that Russia seems to have dialed down its aggressive stance," said Kristina Hooper, US Investment Strategist at Allianz Global Investors. "This is really just a halo continued from Friday."

GOING BANANAS: Chiquita Brands International surged $3.21, or 32 percent, to $13.30 after Cutrale Group and the Safra Group proposed making an offer to acquire all of Chiquita's outstanding stock for at $13.

EUROPEAN STOCKS: Germany's DAX spiked 1.9 percent to 9,180 while France's CAC-40 added 1.2 percent to 4,197. Britain's FTSE 100 rose less than 1 percent to 6,632.

CHINESE INFLATION: China's inflation rate in July came in at 2.3 percent, well below the official target for the year of 3.5 percent. That gives the central bank room to ease access to credit if needed to shore up economic growth, which was 7.5 percent in the latest quarter. That would lower the cost of financing for stock trading, helping to support markets.

BONDS AND COMMODITIES: U.S. government bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held at 2.42 percent from Friday. The price of oil rose 43 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $98.08 a barrel. Gold was little changed at $1,310.50. Silver rose 15 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $20.10 an ounce.

CURRENCIES: In currency trading the euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.3382 while the dollar rose 0.1 percent against the Japanese yen to 102.18 yen.