Stocks waver in early going on Wall Street ahead of holiday

TOKYO (AP) – Stocks are wavering between small gains and losses in the early going on Wall Street Wednesday in muted trading heading into the Christmas holiday. The S&P 500 was little changed shortly after the opening bell, as was the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The Nasdaq slipped 0.1% and the Russell 2000, a measure of small-company stocks, fell 0.3%. Major indexes are still on track for weekly gains after a rally on Tuesday. Indexes were mostly higher in Europe and Asia. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.45%. U.S. markets will be closed Friday in observance of Christmas.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets rose Wednesday after President Joe Biden reassured investors by calling for vaccinations and testing but no travel curbs in response to the omicron coronavirus variant.

Shanghai, Frankfurt, Tokyo and Hong Kong advanced. London opened lower.

Wall Street rose after Biden announced Tuesday the government will provide rapid-test kits and increase vaccination efforts but gave no indication of plans for restrictions that might disrupt the economy. Other governments in Asia and Europe have tightened travel controls or pushed back plans to relax curbs already in place.

Biden “provided some much-needed reassurances for markets,” Yeap Jun Rong of IG said in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London was off 0.2% at 7,286.79 while Frankfurt’s DAX added 1.4% to 15,447.44. The CAC 40 in Paris rose 1.4% to 6,964.99.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index was off less than 0.1%. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up less than 0.1%.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 rose 1.8%, putting it within 1.4% of its Dec. 10 all-time high. The Dow gained 1.6% and the Nasdaq composite gained 2.4%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index closed up less than 0.1% at 3,628.31 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.1% to 28,548.80. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 1% to 23,204.27.

The Kospi in Seoul added 0.2% to 2,980.69 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.1% to 7,345.30.

India’s Sensex advanced 0.9% to 56,319.01. New Zealand declined while Southeast Asian markets advanced.

Traders were rattled by official statements that omicron was spreading faster than expected after airline, cruise line, oil and other travel-related stocks had risen earlier on expectations tighter controls could be avoided.

Sentiments also have been dampened by expectations for tighter U.S. monetary policy after the Federal Reserve indicated last week it will accelerate plans to wind down economic stimulus that has been boosting stock prices. The Fed changed course after inflation rose to a four-decade high of 6.8% in November.

Traders also are worried about the impact of global supply chain disruptions that are fueling fears of higher inflation.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude climbed 50 cents to $71.62 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $2.89 on Tuesday to $71.12. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, advanced 48 cents to $74.46 per barrel in London. It gained $2.46 the previous session to $73.98.

The dollar slipped to 114.06 yen from Tuesday’s 114.12 yen. The euro fell to $1.1275 from $1.1282.