Wall Street Steadies With Help From Amazon and an In-Line Report on Inflation

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Wall Street is recovering some of its sharp losses following an encouraging profit report from Amazon, one of its most influential companies, and a reading on U.S. inflation that came in within expectations. The S&P 500 was up 0.3% in early trading Friday, coming off its ninth loss in 11 days and its lowest level in five months. The Dow slipped 44 points, and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.9%. Amazon was up more than 6% after reporting strong revenue and profits from the summer months, driven by growth in online sales and its advertising business.

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

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Premarket trading is mixed on Wall Street, but oil prices are moving higher after U.S. fighter jets launched airstrikes early Friday on two locations in eastern Syria linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the Israeli military said its troops and tanks had briefly entered Gaza for a second time.

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Futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.2% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% before the bell.

Worries that the latest Israel-Hamas war might lead to a wider conflict, disrupting oil supplies elsewhere in the region, have been pushing crude prices higher.

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Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed ally of Hamas in Lebanon, has repeatedly traded fire with Israel along the border, and Israel has carried out airstrikes targeting Iran-linked groups in Syria. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the strikes in eastern Syria were “a response to a series of ongoing and mostly unsuccessful attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria” and that the operation was separate from the Israel-Hamas war.

Early Friday, U.S. benchmark crude rose $1.54 to $84.75 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gave up $2.18 on Thursday and prices are down 4% this week, but still up 5% on the year.

Brent crude, the international standard, added $1.49 to $88.54 a barrel. It shed $2.07 on Thursday.

Exxon shares were largely unchanged after the oil giant’s third-quarter profit and revenue declined compared with last year when the company put up enormous numbers. Still, Exxon had its strongest ever refinery throughput for the period and raised its quarterly dividend.

In Europe at midday, Germany’s DAX inched ahead 0.1% while the CAC 40 in Paris lost 1%. Britain’s FTSE 100 retreated 0.2%.

In Asian trading, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 1.3% to 30,991.69 as an unexpectedly high reading for consumer inflation in Tokyo raised hopes the central bank might finally end its longstanding near-zero interest rate policy.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 2.1% to 17,398.73 and the Shanghai Composite index added 1% to 3,017.78. The Kospi in Seoul gained 0.2% to 2,302.81. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.2% to 6,826.90. Taiwan’s Taiex was 0.4% higher and Bangkok’s SET jumped 1.3%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.89%, from 4.84% late Thursday, when reports showed the U.S. economy continues to storm ahead despite much higher interest rates that have already lashed the stock market.

A preliminary estimate suggested the U.S. economy’s growth accelerated during the summer to 4.9%. That was more than economists expected. Another report indicated the U.S. job market remains remarkably solid, with relatively few layoffs across the country.

The U.S. economy clearly is not in a recession, but investors worry that robust growth could continue to push prices higher, leading the Federal Reserve to keep rates high for a long time to curb inflation.

Higher interest rates could mean eventual weakness for the economy and corporate profits. And high bond yields make investors less willing to pay high prices for stocks and other investments.

Treasury yields have risen as they catch up with the main interest rate controlled by the Fed, which is at its highest level since 2001.

In the near term, traders overwhelmingly expect the Federal Reserve to hold rates steady at its next meeting, which ends Wednesday. That would mark a second straight meeting where the Fed did not hike its main interest rate, which it has pulled above 5.25% from nearly zero early last year.

In currency dealings Friday, the dollar fell to 150.13 Japanese yen from 150.39 yen. The euro fell to $1.0542 from $1.0565.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 fell 1.2% for its ninth drop in 11 days. The Nasdaq composite fell 1.8% and the Dow sank 0.8%.

Meta Platforms was among the market’s heaviest weights, sinking 3.7% Thursday even though the parent company of Facebook and Instagram reported fatter profit and revenue for the summer than analysts expected. The social media platform clawed back 1% of those losses in after-hours trading.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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