NEW YORK, March 31 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks opened higher Monday as investors awaited Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech in the morning.
With a light economic calendar, investors will pay close attention to Yellen's speech after the new Fed chief suggested at her first press conference after the Fed's March policy meeting that the first lift in federal fund rates could happen about six months after tapering ends this fall, earlier than market's expectations.
Fed officials had expressed different views toward the timing of the first rate hike, making investors somewhat confused by their mixed signals.
Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said last Friday that he expected that short-term policy rate will remain near zero well into 2015 and that he doubted the rate will start to rise before the middle of 2015.
Whereas, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told Reuters last week that the U.S. central bank should start raising rates in the first quarter of 2015.
Shortly after the open bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 110.07 points, or 0.67 percent, to 16,433.13. The S&P 500 rose 12.86 points, or 0.69 percent, to 1,870.48. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 37.22 points, or 0.90 percent, to 4,192.98.