US stocks wavered between small gains and losses in early trade on Tuesday as investors watched with caution geopolitical developments in Japan and Libya.
The S&P 500 Index declined 2 points, or 0.13 percent, to trade at 1,296.66 at 9:55 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 11.77 points, or 0.10 percent, to trade at 12,024.76. The Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.14 percent.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said that radioactive materials were detected from the seawater around the discharge canal (south) of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, which was damaged by earthquake on March 11. The radioactive materials were detected after authorities began testing for radiation in sea water.
U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday that his country will relinquish its leading role in the Western alliance against Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi within days in order to guarantee that the responsibility of enforcing the UN-mandated “no fly zone” resolution Gaddafi is shared by various nations.
Two U.S. airmen ejected from their F-15 fighter planes over Libya on Monday and have been recovered safely. The aircraft experienced a malfunction over northeast Libya at approximately 10:30 p.m. Central European Time, U.S. Africa Command said in a released statement.
On the economic front, monthly house price index and Richmond Manufacturing index are due to be released at 10:00 a.m. EDT.
On the corporate front, Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) shares gained 4.52 percent after the company stock was upgraded to “outperform” rating from “neutral” rating at Credit Suisse. The company is among the top ten companies hiring this week, according to AOL Jobs.
Walgreen Co. (NYSE:WAG) shares declined 7.36 percent to $38.88. The company reported second quarter net income of $739 million or $0.80 per share compared to $669 million or $0.68 per share in the same quarter last year.
U.S. stocks surged on Monday as sentiment was buoyed after Japan made progress in its battle to control radiation leaks at a crippled plant, and AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile.
The euro declined 0.25 percent to 1.4192 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.08 percent against the greenback.
Crude oil futures declined 0.31 percent to $102.01/barrel and gold futures fell 0.06 percent.
European stock markets are currently trading mixed with FTSE 100 down by 10.95 points, DAX30 down by 0.29 points and CAC 40 up by 2.96 points.
On the economic front, consumer prices in Britain rose more than expected in February, strengthening speculation over interest rate hike by the Bank of England (BoE). The annual consumer price index (CPI) in the UK rose to 4.4 percent in February compared with 4 percent in the previous month, while markets had expected the CPI in January to rise to 4.2 percent.