Stocks open slightly higher after benign inflation data

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For the first time in a month, the Dow is on the verge of turning 2018 positive

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up nearly 100 points in early Thursday action, putting the blue-chip gauge within striking distance of turning positive for 2018. Most recently, the Dow was up 95 points, or 0.4%, at 24,635, about 0.4% shy of breaking even for the year, with a trade above 24,719.22 representing a year-to-date gain, a level the benchmark hasn’t been above since mid April, according to FactSet data. Thursday’s trade was being fueled by a rally in shares of Johnson & Johnson [: JNJ] and International Business Machines Corp . The broader market has been buoyed by rising energy prices, which have helped to deliver a fillip to energy-related stocks , with U.S. benchmark crude-oil hitting the highest level since November 2014 above $71 in Wednesday’s session. The S&P 500 index was up 0.4% at 2,708, having turned positive for the year in the previous session, up 1.3% year-to-date, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was trading 0.4% for the session at 7,366, for a year-to=date advance of 6.7%, outperforming the main U.S. equity gauges by a wide margin.

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