Stocks on Wall Street open higher

The S&P 500 rose 11.44 points, or 0.47%, to 2459.27.

Companies in the S&P 500 are expected to report an increase of six percent in operating earnings per share compared with the year-ago period, according to CFRA Research.

Stocks rose as investors waited for day two of Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen's testimony to Congress. Shares of all three banks rose Thursday.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.3 per cent at its close while blue-chips gained 0.4 per cent, with rate-sensitive real estate stocks, which were top gainers on Wednesday, tracking more modest gains.

The Russell 2000 is up 12.98 points, or 0.9 percent.

Crude oil was over 1 percent higher with prices at $47 per barrel.

Japan's Nikkei 225, however, closed flat, up just 0.01 per cent at 20,099.81.

The US stock market surged on Wednesday, lifting one of the major indexes to a record, after the head of the US central bank predicted borrowing costs would remain relatively low.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday the USA central bank will start reducing its massive $4.5 trillion portfolio later this year. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index added 1.1% to 6,261.17.

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