NEW YORK — Stocks were in mixed in early trading Wednesday ahead of a European Central Bank meeting where further stimulus is expected to be announced as well as a speech by the head of the Federal Reserve. Energy stocks fell along with the price of oil.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost seven points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,880 as of 11 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost two points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,100 and the Nasdaq composite was up 16 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,172.
EUROPE STIMULUS: Investors expect the European Central Bank will expand its stimulus program when policymakers meet on Thursday, either by expanding its bond-buying or by cutting interest rates further. ECB head Mario Draghi signaled that action is coming this week as the bank seeks to support growth and push inflation higher.
US RATES: Investors are also keyed into Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen’s speech set for Wednesday, as well as the November jobs report, scheduled to be released on Friday, which comes shortly before the Fed’s next two-day policy meeting. Unless the November employment figures are extraordinarily weak, investors believe the Fed will raise interest rates from a record low this month for the first time since the financial crisis.
Some preliminary jobs data out Wednesday supported the thesis that the U.S. jobs market continued to improve last month. The payroll processor ADP said the private sector created 217,000 jobs in November.
CONNECTED: Mobile phone component maker Qualcomm jumped $3.57, or 7 percent, to $52.87 after the company announced a patent deal with a Chinese mobile phone maker.
TO THE AUCTION BLOCK? Yahoo jumped $2.29, or 7 percent, to $36 on reports that the company was considering selling its core internet businesses. Yahoo has struggled for many years to re-energize its business model. The company’s stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, worth $30 billion, makes up the vast majority of Yahoo’s overall market cap of $33.6 billion.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 82 cents to $41.00 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, fell 93 cents to $43.52 a barrel in London.
BONDS, CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.17 percent from 2.15 percent late Tuesday. The U.S. dollar strengthened to 123.37 yen from 122.84 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0570 from $1.0631.
This article was written by Ken Sweet from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.