US stocks posting gains in early trading

Associated Press
In this Wednesday, March 12, 2014, photo, traders Jeffrey Vazquez, left, and James Denaro work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Most global stock markets fell sharply Friday March 14, 2014 over persistent concerns about weakness in the Chinese economy and tensions in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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In this Wednesday, March 12, 2014, photo, traders Jeffrey Vazquez, left, and James Denaro work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Most global stock markets fell sharply Friday March 14, 2014 over persistent concerns about weakness in the Chinese economy and tensions in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The U.S. stock market eked out modest gains in early trading Friday, a day after suffering its biggest decline in six weeks.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose two points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,848 in the first half-hour of trading. The Dow Jones industrial average added 26 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,135. The Nasdaq composite gained one point, or 0.03 percent, to 4,261.

ROCKY WEEK: The three major indexes lost more than 1 percent on Thursday as growing worries about China's economy and rising tensions over Ukraine rattled investors. The slide wiped out the S&P 500 index's gain for the year.

RETAIL RESULTS: Aeropostale fell $1.26, or 17 percent, to $6.05 after the retailer reported a wider loss late Thursday. The operator of clothing stores for teenagers also warned of tough times ahead.

TUNING OUT: Liberty Media added $10.36, or 8.5 percent, to $136.80 in morning trading. The company, which is controlled by billionaire John Malone, said late Thursday that it would drop its bid to buy the rest of the satellite radio provider Sirius XM.

SECTOR LOOK: Seven of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index posted gains. Utilities led the risers. Information technology, health care and industrials fell.

EUROPE: Major European stock markets were heading lower. In the U.K., the FTSE 100 index was down 0.4 percent while Germany's DAX fell 0.7 percent. The CAC-40 in France was 1.3 percent lower. In Russia, the main RTS index took a hard fall, dropping 3 percent. For the year, the index is down 28 percent.

PRICE WATCH: The Labor Department said Friday that the prices companies are paid for goods and services fell slightly in February, the latest sign of tame inflation. The producer price index, a measure of prices before they reach shoppers, dropped 0.1 percent in February. It was the first slip since November.

BOND ACTION: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.64 percent from 2.65 percent as bond prices rose. The yield affects rates on mortgages and other consumer loans.

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