Wall Street moved higher with technology stocks as investors awaited Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's semiannual testimony to Congress and the start of the latest quarterly earnings season.

Yellen will testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday and before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday. Her comments will be scrutinised for fresh clues on the timing of the Fed's third rate hike this year as well as the unwinding of its balance sheet.

Also, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo are among companies slated to report their latest quarterly results this week.

In 3.18pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.05 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.4 per cent. In 3.02pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 0.2 per cent.

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The Dow moved higher as advances in shares of Visa and those of Nike, recently up 1.3 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively, outweighed declines in shares of Wal-Mart Stores and those of Intel, recently 2.4 per cent and 0.9 per cent weaker respectively.

Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch sank, down 21 per cent as of 3.14pm in New York, after the company ended takeover talks.

"After a comprehensive review of all relevant factors, with the assistance of our financial advisor, the A&F board of directors determined that the best path to enhance value for stockholders is the rigorous execution of our business plan," Arthur Martinez, executive chairman, said in a statement.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with a 0.4 per cent gain from the previous close. The UK's FTSE 100 Index rose 0.3 per cent, France's CAC40 Index increased 0.4 percent, while Germany's DAX Index climbed 0.5 per cent.

Shares of Nestle rose 1.3 per cent in Zurich. Activist investor Daniel Loeb is keeping up pressure on Nestle by sharing views with the company, of which his Third Point fund now owns a US$3.5 billion stake, as part of a regular dialogue, Reuters reported, citing a source familiar with the matter.

Improved productivity was first on Third Point's wish list, and the source, who declined to be identified, said it was the most important, according to Reuters.

Loeb, dubbed a "constructivist" for his increasingly cooperative approach, first met new chief executive Mark Schneider on June 2, the source said, adding that no other meetings are currently planned before Nestle's September 26 investor seminar, which Third Point plans to attend, Reuters reported.

In Hong Kong, shares of Cosco Shipping rose after the Chinese state-owned company agreed to buy rival Oriental Overseas for about HK$49.2 billion (US$6.3 billion), which would make it the world's third-biggest shipping line.

"This looks like a happy ending for both parties," Han Ning, China director for Drewry Shipping Consultants, told Bloomberg. "Cosco can benefit from OOCL's strong presence on routes from the Far East to Australia and to the US. The company's operational efficiency has long been admired by outsiders as well."

Shares of Cosco Shipping climbed 5.4 per cent in Hong Kong, while those of Oriental Overseas soared 20 per cent.