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Trading Floor at the New York Stock Exchange. (Image: Scott Beale / Laughingsquid.com via Flickr)

US stocks are little changed in early trade; oil price rises

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are wavering between small gains and losses Thursday morning following a sharp sell-off the day before. The price of oil is climbing for the third consecutive day as key oil-producing nations discuss cuts in production. Strong earnings are propelling Facebook and Under Armor higher.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average was off 22 points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,921 as of 10:30 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index edged down 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,878. The Nasdaq composite slipped 5 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,461.

OIL CLIMBS: The price of oil rose Thursday as the Russian government continued talks with Saudi Arabia and OPEC about cutting production. U.S. crude added $1.43, or 4.4 percent, to $33.73 a barrel in New York. That’s on top of a 6.5-percent climb over the previous two days. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose $1.65, or 4.9 percent, to $35.58 a barrel in London.

Oil prices have been on a long, steep slide as world stockpiles hit enormous levels and investors fear demand will get weaker. Last week U.S. oil closed at a 12-year low of $26.55 a barrel.

FACEBOOK GETS LIKES: Facebook surged after reporting that its profit more than doubled in the fourth quarter. The social networking site gained another 46 million users, giving it 1.59 billion around the world. The stock rose $11.81, or 12.5 percent, to $106.27.

A GOOD FIT: Sports apparel maker Under Armour climbed $10.27, or 16 percent, to $78.85 after it reported a larger-than-expected profit and better revenue than analysts had forecast.

BID LOWER: E-commerce site eBay lost $3.36, or 12.7 percent, to $23.06 after its guidance for the current quarter and the year disappointed investors. Its former payment unit PayPal reported strong results and added $2, or 6.3 percent, to $33.59.

FED CAUTION: Stocks came under pressure Wednesday after the Federal Reserve gave a cautious assessment of the global economy and said U.S. growth has slowed down. The Dow fell 1.4 percent Wednesday and the S&P 500 gave up 1.1 percent. Most of those losses came after the Fed’s 2 p.m. announcement.

OVERSEAS: In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 1.1 percent while Germany’s DAX fell 2.4 percent. The CAC-40 in France was 1.7 percent lower. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index gave up early gains to end 0.7 percent lower. The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China closed 2.9 percent lower.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged at 2 percent. The euro rose to $1.0927 from $1.0907 late Wednesday. The dollar rose to 118.86 yen from 118.64 yen.


In related news, Stocks rise with oil prices, consumer stocks gain ground.

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