Stocks stalled in morning trading on Wall Street Friday as investors wrapped up a bumpy week with more uncertainty about where to go next.
The S&P 500 index rose 0.2% as of 10:20 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 164 points, or 0.5%, to 34,874 and the Nasdaq fell 0.4%.
Major indexes have been alternating between gains and losses all this week as markets try to suss out what’s next for inflation and the global economy as the repercussions of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continue to play out. The benchmark S&P 500 is still on track for a weekly gain, along with the tech-heavy Nasdaq.
Bond yields rose significantly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury jumped to 2.45% from 2.34% late Thursday. That helped lift banks, which rely on higher yields to charge more lucrative interest on loans. Bank of America rose 1.4%.
Crude oil prices fell again. The price for U.S. benchmark crude oil slipped 2.1% and Brent crude, the international standard, fell 1.8%. Prices are still up nearly 50% globally for the year.
Oil prices have been volatile since Russia’s war against Ukraine began in February. Russia is the second-biggest crude exporter. Energy prices were already high, but the conflict has raised concerns about a worsening supply crunch that could maker persistently rising inflation even worse.
The U.S. and Europe announced a partnership Friday to reduce the continent’s reliance on Russian energy in hopes of further isolating Moscow for its aggression. Russia has threatened to make Europe pay for natural gas exports in rubles, which has seen its value gutted because of sanctions and other actions. Russia’s economy has been battered as governments cut it off from international banking and commerce.
The conflict in Russia has added to global concerns about rising inflation and the potential for economic growth to slow even more than anticipated. A survey on Friday showed that business confidence in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, dropped sharply in March because of conflict in Ukraine.
Central banks, including the Federal Reserve, are moving to raise interest rates to try and temper the impact from rising inflation, which has only been made worse by Russia’s war in Ukraine. The conflict is also pushing wheat and other commodity prices higher, as both Russia and Ukraine are major global suppliers.
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