Wall Street Turns Mixed Thursday
(AP) -- Stocks turned mixed Thursday morning and oil prices eased back as markets let go of some of the jitters they've been having over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The S&P 500 gave up an early gain and edged down 0.1% as of 10:28 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 66 points, or 0.2%, to 33,959 and the Nasdaq fell 0.8%.
Bond yields were stable. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.87% from 1.86% late Wednesday.
The major indexes rallied a day earlier after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said he favored a modest interest rate increase at the Fed's policy meeting in two weeks, bringing relief to investors who had feared he would back more aggressive moves to fight inflation.
The economic fallout from the Russian invasion expanded, with Fitch Ratings and Moody's Ratings cutting Russia's credit rating. They said the invasion and Western sanctions have hurt Moscow's ability to repay debts and raised risks for the economy and stability.
The London Stock Exchange said it had suspended trading in shares of 27 companies with links to Russia, including some of the biggest in energy and steel, such as Lukoil, Gazprom, Sberbank, Rosneft and Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works. Those shares lost most of their value prior to the suspension. Rosneft shares dropped from $7.91 on Feb. 16 to 60 cents on March 2, while Sberbank shares plunged from $14.90 to 5 cents in that same time frame.
Trading on the Moscow exchange remained closed Thursday. Russia's ruble lost another 15% against the U.S. dollar and is worth less than 1 cent. It has plunged since Western governments imposed sanctions that cut off much of Russia's access to the global financial system.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has been the dominant issue for investors all week as they try to assess its global economic impact. Russia is a key oil producer and prices have been rising as global supplies remain threatened by the conflict, raising concerns that persistent inflation could become even hotter.
Leaders of OPEC and other major oil-producing countries are sticking with plans to gradually increase oil production. Meanwhile, the U.S. and other major governments in the International Energy Agency plan to release 60 million barrels from strategic reserves to boost supplies.
Prices for U.S. benchmark crude oil and Brent crude, the international standard, were relatively stable on Thursday, but are up more than 18% for the week and remain above $100 per barrel.
Rising inflation and the Fed's reaction is still a big focus for investors with the impact of the conflict uncertain. Powell is giving a second day of testimony before Congress Thursday.
Investors will get another update on the U.S. jobs market on Friday when the Labor Department releases its report for February.