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Wall Street opens lower; S&P 500 heading for weekly gain | Your money

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell at Wall Street’s open on Friday, dragging European markets lower as oil remained above $100 a barrel. The S&P 500 is down 0.4% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite is down 0.6%. Both indexes are heading for their biggest weekly gains this year. The ongoing war in Ukraine continues to boost sentiment after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for more aid for his country after days of bombardment of civilian sites. Rising interest rates and surging COVID-19 cases in China and Europe also weighed on sentiment. Stocks in Asia mostly finished higher ahead of President Joe Biden’s scheduled call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

(asterisk) (asterisk) (asterisk) THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE (asterisk) (asterisk) (asterisk) The previous AP story appears below:

Wall Street fell slightly ahead of Friday’s market open after declines in Europe as oil prices hovered above $100 a barrel.

S&P 500 futures fell 0.7% and Dow Jones Industrialists fell 0.6% as investors weighed an escalating war in Ukraine, rising interest rates and a increase in COVID-19 cases in China and Europe.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for more help for his country after days of shelling of civilian sites in several cities.

President Joe Biden will meet with the Chinese president on Friday Xi Jinping on “the management of competition between our two countries as well as Russia’s war against Ukraine and other issues of common concern,” the White House said.

At noon, the German DAX fell 1.7%, the CAC 40 in Paris lost 1.5% and the British FTSE 100 lost 0.8%.

At the end of a two-day meeting, the Bank of Japan chose to keep its monetary policy unchanged, with its benchmark interest rate at minus 0.1%. Japan’s central bank has been keeping interest rates rock-bottom and pumping tens of billions of dollars into the world’s third-largest economy for years, trying to spur faster growth.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.7% to 26,827.43 and Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6% to 7,294.40.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.4% to 21,412.40 after surging for two days after Chinese leaders pledged more support for the economy and markets, suggesting Beijing could temper its crackdown on tech and real estate companies.

The Shanghai Composite Index added 1.1% to 3,251.07.

On Wall Street on Thursday, the S&P 500 climbed 1.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1.2% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 1.3%. It is on course for its biggest weekly gain in over a year.

Stocks of small companies outperformed the broader market. The Russell 2000 Index jumped 1.7%.

Big market swings have become the norm as investors struggle to handicap what will happen to the economy and already high global inflation due to The Russian invasion of Ukraine, central bank interest rate hike around the world and renewed COVID-19 concerns in various hotspots.

Wall Street’s latest gains came after the Federal Reserve raised its key rate on Wednesday for the first time since 2018, something Wall Street had been waiting for months.

A barrel of U.S. crude oil gained $1.02 to $104 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped 8.4% on Thursday to settle at $102.98.

Brent crude, the international price standard, added 76 cents to $107.40 a barrel in London. It jumped 8.8% to settle at $106.64 a barrel the previous day.

Prices fell on doubts about oil supply and demand. After briefly surging above $130 early last week, a barrel of U.S. crude fell to nearly $94 a barrel on Wednesday.

But reports of a sale of Russian crude oil to India and apparent setbacks in peace talks between Ukraine and Russia have rekindled concerns about possible supply shortages.

Asked about reports that India is buying oil from Russia at a cut price, Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi did not directly confirm or deny it.

“India imports most of its oil needs,” Bagchi said. “We are exploring all possibilities in the global energy market. I don’t think Russia has been a major supplier of oil to India.”

He also noted that European countries import oil from Russia.

Snatches of news about the state of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine have caused many sharp reversals. Similarly, there have been recent concerns about economic shutdowns in China due to the surge in COVID-19 infections, which could affect energy demand.

On Thursday, the Chinese government announced companies in shenzhen, a major business hub, will be allowed to reopen as efforts to contain coronavirus outbreaks progress. Their earlier shutdowns had rattled financial markets.

A flurry of better-than-expected US economic reports on Thursday may also have helped markets. Fewer workers applied for unemployment claims last week, and builders opened more homes last month than economists expected.

In other exchanges, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.14% from 2.20% on Thursday evening.

The dollar fell from 118.60 yen to 119.04 Japanese yen. The euro fell to $1.1040 from $1.1092.

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Associated Press writer Ashok Sharma in New Delhi contributed.

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