Stocks Steady as Oil Stabilizes

Stocks Steady as Oil Stabilizes

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stock indexes held steady in early trading Wednesday after the price of oil stabilized. Markets elsewhere around the world were mixed, while stocks in mainland China got a small boost after they got the OK to join a widely followed index of emerging-market stocks.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,439, as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average was close to flat at 21,466, and the Nasdaq composite rose 22, or 0.4 percent, to 6,210.

CRUDE REVIVAL: Benchmark U.S. crude ticked up by 6 cents to $43.57 per barrel, a day after sinking to its lowest price of the year on continued speculation that supplies will overwhelm demand. Brent crude, the international standard, dipped 5 cents to $45.97.

Oil's slide a day earlier yanked energy stocks lower, which in turn pulled the S&P 500 back from its record high. On Wednesday, energy stocks were down again, but not by nearly as much as the prior day: 0.3 percent versus 1.2 percent.

OPENING UP: Red Hat, an open-source software company, surged to one of the biggest gains in the S&P 500 after reporting better-than-expected earnings for its latest quarter. Its forecast for revenue and earnings this fiscal year also topped analysts' expectations. Its stock rose $7.59, or 8.4 percent, to $97.55.

FLASHING HIGHER: Adobe Systems jumped $4.26, or 3 percent, to $145.17 after reporting stronger revenue and earnings for its latest quarter than analysts expected.

CHINA'S ARRIVAL: Chinese shares traded in Shanghai, which have long been difficult for foreign investors to trade, rose 0.5 percent after index provider MSCI said it will include what are called "Chinese A-shares" in its widely followed Emerging Markets index. The move, which will begin next year, will likely cause big shifts of money by mutual funds and other investors that track the index into mainland Chinese stocks.

MSCI has been considering including these A-shares in its index for years but had demurred until now due to a range of concerns, including their inaccessibility for global investors.

OTHER MARKETS ABROAD: In Europe, France's CAC 40 fell 0.5 percent, Germany's DAX lost 0.4 percent and the FTSE 100 in London slipped 0.3 percent. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.5 percent, South Korea's Kospi lost 0.5 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped 0.6 percent.

TREASURY YIELDS: Bond prices dipped, which pushed their yields higher. The 10-year Treasury yield ticked up to 2.17 percent from 2.16 percent late Tuesday. The two-year yield rose to 1.36 percent from 1.35 percent, and the 30-year yield rose to 2.75 percent from 2.74 percent.

CURRENCIES: The British pound rose to $1.2676 from $1.2629 late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.1138from $1.1128, and the dollar rose to 111.64 Japanese yen from 111.41 yen.

COMMODITIES: Gold was unchanged at $1,243.50, silver slipped 6 cents to $16.36 per ounce and copper added 4 cents to $2.60 per pound. Natural gas rose 3 cents to $2.94 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil was flat at $1.40 per gallon and wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $1.42 per gallon.

(KA)