Stocks Open Up Ahead of Trade Talks

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks were mostly higher in early trading Monday as Wall Street nears the end of a relatively strong earnings season and looks ahead to key trade talks between the U.S. and China.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin is leading a delegation set to meet with Chinese officials on Thursday and Friday. The talks are aimed at resolving a trade war that threatens to stunt global economic growth, in part by raising prices on goods for consumers and companies. The situation could get worse when a truce on tariffs expires in early March.

Economists' fears of a global slowdown were given additional fuel from a report Monday showing Britain's economy had its slowest economic growth since the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Both Europe overall and China are already contending with slower growth.

Corporate earnings are so far mixed on a light day for reporting. The owner of Tim Horton's and Burger King, Restaurant Brands, jumped after reporting strong earnings results. Commercial insurer Loews plunged on a fourth-quarter loss caused by higher catastrophe losses.

Looking ahead, beverage and consumer product giants Coca-Cola and Nestle will report earnings this week.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 34 points, or 0.1 percent, to 25,072 as of 10:30 a.m. Eastern time. The S&P 500 index was little changed and the Nasdaq composite added 0.2 percent.

OVERSEAS: European markets were mostly higher, though the British FTSE 100 fell. Asian markets were also mostly higher.

The British economy grew by 1.4 percent in 2018, its slowest rate of growth since 2009. Uncertainty around the nation's so far messy departure from the key European trading organization played a major role in stunting growth. Britain is also dealing with wider global trends, including higher tariffs.