Wall Street is off to a wobbly start; crude oil prices rise

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are off to a wobbly start on Wall Street and as some concerns dissipate over the protests in China against that country’s severe COVID restrictions. The S&P 500 was bobbing between small gains and losses in the early going Tuesday, as was the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Small-company stocks were mostly higher. Energy stocks rose as crude oil prices climbed about 2%. Hong Kong’s benchmark index jumped more than 5% overnight and other Asian markets also rose. U.S. Treasury yields were higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which helps set mortgage rates, rose to 3.75%.


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

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were mostly higher Tuesday as jitters over protests in China set off by growing public anger over COVID-19 restrictions subsided.

Hong Kong’s benchmark surged 5.2% and most other markets in Europe and Asia advanced. U.S. futures edged higher. Oil prices rose more than $1 per barrel.

China’s economy has been stifled by a “zero-COVID” policy which includes lockdowns that have intermittently threatened the global supply chain.

France's CAC 40 was nearly unchanged at 6,665.24, while Germany's DAX slipped 0.1% to 14,366.13. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.7% to 7,525.30. The future for the S&P 500 was up 0.4% while the future for the Dow industrials fell 0.2%.

Chinese shares rebounded after they were hit by sharp losses on Monday following protests over the weekend in various Chinese cities. However, a crackdown on the protests or further expansion of pandemic lockdowns could slow the Chinese economy further, hurting the global economy.

Other factors also contributed to Tuesday's rebound, Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a report.

“China markets are perking up to new housing support, a potential rate cut, and speculation that protests may expedite a shift from ‘Covid-Zero' policies," he said.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed at 18,204.68 while the Shanghai Composite index added 2.3% to 3,149.75.

Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.5% to finish at 28,027.84. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.3% to 7,253.30. South Korea's Kospi added 1.0% to 2,433.39.

The Japanese government said Tuesday that the unemployment rate for October was unchanged from September at 2.6% while the number of available jobs per job-seeker was at 1.35.

The Conference Board will release its consumer confidence index for November later Tuesday. That could shed more light on how consumers have been holding up amid high prices and on their spending plans through the holiday shopping season and into 2023.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will speak at the Brookings Institution about the outlook for the U.S. economy and the labor market on Wednesday.

Investors are watching to see next moves by the Federal Reserve in its battle against decades-high inflation. The U.S. central bank is trying to curb price increases by raising interest rates while avoiding pushing the economy into recession. The central bank’s benchmark rate currently stands at 3.75% to 4%, up from close to zero in March.

The U.S. government will be releasing several reports about the labor market this week. A report about job openings and labor turnover for October will be released Wednesday, followed by a weekly unemployment claims report Thursday. The closely watched monthly report on the job market will be released on Friday.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude added $1.81 to $79.05 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the pricing basis for international trading, rose $2.08 to $85.97 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar fell to 138.28 Japanese yen from 138.90 yen. The euro cost $1.0374, up from $1.0339.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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