Stocks open mostly lower, but tech companies edge higher

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Stocks are off to a mostly lower start on Wall Street Friday, though gains for some big technology companies are sending the Nasdaq a bit higher

BEIJING — Stocks are off to a mostly lower start on Wall Street Friday, though gains for some big technology companies are sending the Nasdaq a bit higher. The S&P 500 was down less than 0.1%, a day after setting another record higher. The Nasdaq, which also set a record high a day earlier, was up 0.4%. Moderna jumped 8.8% and Pfizer added 2% after the Food and Drug Administration opened up coronavirus booster shots from the two companies to all adults. TurboTax maker Intuit jumped more than 10% after reporting results that easily beat analysts’ estimates. Crude oil prices fell.

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

BEIJING (AP) — Global stocks were mostly higher Friday after Wall Street hit a record and Japan’s Cabinet approved a record stimulus package worth nearly a half-billion dollars.

London, Frankfurt, Shanghai and Tokyo advanced. Hong Kong declined.

Investors are shifting their focus from corporate earnings to the longer-term outlook for global economies and whether central banks might feel pressure to cool rising prices by rolling back stimulus faster than planned.

Inflation is “currently the main focal area for the markets,” Fawad Razaqzada of ThinkMarkets said in a report.

Japan’s October consumer inflation eased to 0.1% over a year earlier from the previous month’s 0.2%, the government reported.

The country is struggling to get prices to rise, unlike most economies, after decades of stagnant growth as its population shrinks and grows older.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet on Friday approved a 56 trillion yen ($490 billion) government spending package aimed at spurring growth in the world’s third largest economy.

In early European trading, the FTSE gained 0.4% to 7,281.94 and Frankfurt’s Dax opened 0.2% lower at 16,249.16. The CAC 40 in Paris advanced 0.5% to 7,178.31.

Futures for the S&P 500 index and Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.3%.

On Thursday, the S&P gained 0.3% while the Dow lost 0.2%. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.5%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.1% to 3,560.37 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.5% to 29,745.87. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong sank 1.1% to 25,049.97.

The Kospi in Seoul gained 0.8% to 2,971.02 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.2% to 7,396.50.

Indian markets were closed for a holiday. New Zealand, Singapore and Bangkok declined while Jakarta gained.

On Wall Street, two-thirds of companies in the S&P 500 fell Thursday. Gains by big technology companies and retailers offset losses in other sectors as investors sized up the latest corporate earnings.

U.S. stocks have risen since early October as companies reported stronger profits than expected.

Companies in the S&P 500 have reported overall earnings growth of 39%. That outpaces earlier forecasts in June for 23% growth for the quarter.

Companies face higher costs for raw materials and supply chain problems. Consumers have so far absorbed price hikes, but analysts fear they could eventually rein in spending if increases continue.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 35 cents to $78.76 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used as the price basis for international oils, gained 30 cents to $81.54 per barrel in London.

The dollar declined to 114.12 yen from Thursday’s 114.27 yen. The euro retreated to $1.1291 from $1.1370.

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