Stocks mix at the open as investors watch Musk and the drama on Twitter

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NEW YORK — Stocks are mixed at the open on Wall Street on Thursday as investors again turn their attention to the drama surrounding Elon Musk and Twitter. Musk offered to buy the social media company for $54.20 per share, two weeks after revealing he had accrued a 9% stake. Twitter rose 2.2% to $46.87 in early trading. The S&P 500 rose less than 0.1% while the Nasdaq fell 0.4%. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.5% in March, boosted by higher gasoline prices as consumers continued to spend despite high inflation. The price of oil fell more than 1%. The 10-year Treasury yield fell from 2.72% to 2.74%.

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

Global stocks were mostly higher on Thursday after China signaled its central bank would ease reserve requirements for lenders to counter the hit to its economy from pandemic shutdowns in major cities like Shanghai.

London fell while Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo and Shanghai gained. US futures were mixed and oil prices fell.

Trading was relatively calm, with some Asian markets closed for the holidays. Markets in the United States and Europe face a shortened week and will be closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday.

Chinese state media reported that Premier Li Keqiang stressed the need to step up financial support for the economy at a State Council meeting on Wednesday.

Officials at the meeting agreed “to use monetary policy tools such as reserve requirement ratio cuts at the appropriate time”, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

“The outlook remains very uncertain, but there are signs that the virus situation is starting to improve and that officials’ attention is shifting towards helping the economy get back on its feet,” Julian said. Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics in a note.

The German DAX edged up 0.1% to 14,090.92 while the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.5% to 6,572.30. Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.1% to 7,576.54. The outlook for Dow industrials was virtually unchanged, while that for the S&P 500 was 0.1% higher.

Investors appeared to discount fresh evidence that inflation remains widespread in the US economy as a US government report said rising energy costs pushed wholesale prices to a record 11.2% last month compared to the previous year.

The report followed news a day earlier that consumer prices in the United States remain at their highest levels in generations.

Rising prices are prompting the Federal Reserve and many other central banks to tighten monetary policy by raising interest rates, among other measures, to help calm the growing demand that is contributing to the problem.

South Korea’s central bank on Thursday raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 percentage points to 1.50 percent, its fourth increase since August 2021. The Kospi in Seoul remained stable at 2,716.71.

Stocks in Singapore also held steady after the Monetary Authority of Singapore tightened policy by adjusting exchange rates more aggressively than expected.

New Zealand’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate on Wednesday and Australia’s is expected to do so in June, analysts said.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.2% to 27,172.00 and the S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney climbed 0.6% to 7,523.40.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.7% to 21,518.08 and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.2% to 3,225.64.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 index rose 1.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1% and the Nasdaq 2%. The Russell 2000 Index jumped 1.9%.

Inflation may be at its peak, but it will likely persist for some time as cost pressures work their way through the markets.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine increased volatility in energy prices, as oil supplies were already tight as demand increased with the decline of the pandemic. Crude oil prices in the United States are up about 40% for the year, pushing up gasoline prices and giving inflation a bigger impact on people’s wallets.

“On the geopolitical front, the Ukraine crisis continues to weigh on sentiment, with markets watching for any signs of further deterioration,” ActivTrades’ Anderson Alves said in a commentary.

Companies in various sectors have increased their prices to offset rising costs and maintain or increase their margins.

Investors will get more details on how businesses and consumers are handling inflation as more companies release their latest financial results. The insurer UnitedHealth Group and the banks Wells Fargo and Citigroup are due to publish their results on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, the Commerce Department will release its retail sales report for March, which will show if and where consumers are cutting back on spending.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil fell $1.28 to $102.97 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $3.65 to $104.25 a barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, the standard for international oil pricing, fell 1.55 cents to $107.23 a barrel.

The US dollar slipped to 125.26 Japanese yen from 125.63 yen. The euro fell from $1.0888 to $1.0906.

Garland K. Long