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US Stocks Open Higher, Led By Health Care, Banks

The stock market likely benefited from investors putting money into stocks on the first day of the third quarter.

"New money is being put to work," said Quincy Krosby, a market strategist at Prudential Financial.

The market is more than twice as likely to gain as decline on the first trading day of a new quarter, according to data from S&P Dow Jones Indices. The index has risen 27 times and fallen 13 times during the past 10 years on the first day of the quarter.

This week's most closely watched economic release will be the government's monthly employment report Friday. Economists expect the U.S. added 165,000 jobs in June, a figure that would affirm the economy's steady, but slow, trajectory, said Scott Wren, a senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors.

"It's a confirmation of more of the same," said Wren. "More modest growth, more modest inflation, but not a big acceleration."

The Fed is currently buying $85 billion of bonds a month to keep interest rates low and encourage borrowing and spending. That stimulus has been a major factor supporting a rally in stocks this year and the threat of it being withdrawn made stock markets more volatile last month.

The S&P 500 closed at a record high of 1,669 on May 21. A day later, stocks began dropping after minutes of a Fed meeting were released suggesting the stimulus could be scaled back. The sell-off picked up pace when Bernanke laid out the possible timeline for ending the bond purchases.

The S&P closed at 1,573 on June 24, down almost 6 percent from its record, before it began recovering from the sell-off. The index is up 13.2 percent this year.

U.S. stocks on Monday followed global markets higher. Before trading began on Wall Street, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.3 percent, boosted by signs of improvement in Japan's economy.

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