Stocks open slightly higher on Wall Street, led by health

Stocks are edging higher in early trading on Wall Street Wednesday and health care companies were leading the way for the second day in a row. The S&P 500 was up 0.2% in the early going, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq were each up about 0.1%. Abbott Laboratories, Biogen and Anthem rose after reporting quarterly results that beat analysts’ expectations. Netflix fell 2.3% after forecasting earnings for its current quarter that were below analysts’ estimates. European and Asian markets were mixed, and crude oil prices fell about 1%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury edged up to 1.64%.

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

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets were mixed Wednesday after Wall Street advanced on strong corporate earnings and Japanese exports weakened.

London and Shanghai declined while Tokyo and Frankfurt advanced. The future for Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index was off less than 0.1% after five days of gains.

“Market sentiment remains decidedly positive,” said Jeffrey Halley of Oanda in a report.

Investors watched for inflation updates from Britain and some other European governments amid concern central banks might feel pressure to hike interest rates sooner than planned or roll back stimulus.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London lost less than 0.1% to 7,210.74. The DAX in Frankfurt rose 0.2% to 15,552.62 while the CAC 40 in Paris declined less than 0.1% to 6,667.52.

On Wall Street, the future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up less than 0.1%.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 rose 0.7% to within 0.4% of its Sept. 2 all-time high. The Dow and the Nasdaq composite advanced less than 0.1%.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.1% to 29,255.55 after government data showed September exports fell 3.9% compared with the previous month.

The Kospi in Seoul shed 0.5% to 3,013.13 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.5% to 7,413.70.

India’s Sensex opened less than 0.4% higher at 61,469.75. New Zealand and Bangkok advanced while Singapore declined.

Wall Street’s gains Tuesday were propelled by tech and health care stocks.

Johnson & Johnson, the biggest maker of health products, rose 2.3% after reporting strong quarterly earnings and raising its profit forecast for the year.

Apple Inc. rose 1.5% and software maker Adobe gained 2.1%.

Investors worry disruptions to manufacturing supply chains and shipping due to the coronavirus pandemic may depress corporate profits or push up inflation.

Procter & Gamble fell 1.2% after saying it will raise prices amid higher commodity and freight costs.

Overall, analysts polled by FactSet forecast earnings growth of 30% for the S&P 500, up from 23% in June.

Surging energy prices are rising concerns about a supply crunch that might hold back an economic recovery.

Also Tuesday, the Commerce Department reported that U.S. home construction fell 1.6% in September. Beazer Homes fell 2.7% and Hovnanian Enterprises fell 3%.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 80 cents to $81.64 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, lost 82 cents to $84.26 per barrel in London.

The dollar rose to 114.35 yen from Tuesday’s 114.31 yen. The euro declined to $1.1628 from $1.1640.