NEW YORK - U.S. stocks are mostly higher late Tuesday after a wobbly day of trading as a jump in metals prices helps mining and materials companies. Industrial companies are also up. Health care companies are lower.
Stocks have gyrated over the last few days as investors continue to look for hints about how the Trump administration's planned tariffs on steel and aluminum will affect international trade. Asian markets jumped after the North Korean government said it was open to talks with the U.S. about ending its nuclear program.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 3 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 2,724 at 3:25 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 16 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 24,858. It rose as much as 120 points early on and later fell as much as 166 points before recovering. The Nasdaq composite rose 28 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 7,359. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 12 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 1,558.
TRADE WINDS: Stocks fell 3.7 per cent during a three-day losing streak last week after President Donald Trump announced plans for steep tariffs on steel and aluminum. Other countries and the European Union announced plans to put tariffs on some U.S.-made goods including bourbon and motorcycles. Investors feared that was the start of a conflict that would restrict trade and cut company profits.
Since then the market has bounced around as investors hoped that a full-blown global trade war won't break out. Kristina Hooper, chief global markets strategist for Invesco, said the tariffs could raise costs for a lot of U.S. companies and increase inflation, and Wall Street is having trouble deciding if the tariffs are more of a bargaining chip in trade negotiations or if they are a goal on their own.
"Yesterday when it seemed as though it was just rhetoric, markets relaxed," she said. "Today I think concerns have grown that maybe this isn't just a bargaining tactic." That came after House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke up against the proposed tariffs Tuesday and called for a "more surgical approach" that might cause less backlash.
After initially suggesting there would be no exceptions to the tariffs, Trump said he could grant exemptions to Canada and Mexico if they come to terms on a new trade deal.
KOREAN TALKS? Asian markets climbed after North Korea said it is willing to start talks with the U.S. on denuclearization. It also said it would stop nuclear and missile tests during those discussions. The Kospi in Seoul jumped 1.5 per cent while Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 1.8 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 2.1 per cent.
OFF TARGET: Target lost $3.17, or 4.2 per cent, to $71.97 after it reported that costs associated with overhauling its stores and investing in its website affected its earnings and its forecasts for the current year. Target also said it is raising minimum starting pay for workers for the second time in less than a year after seeing a bigger and better pool of candidates.
Other retailers including Amazon, Best Buy and Lowe's fared better.
BOARD BATTLE: Qualcomm fell and Broadcom rose after Bloomberg News reported that Broadcom is on track to get more leverage in its effort to buy Qualcomm, which wants Broadcom to make a richer offer. Bloomberg reported that so far, directors backed by Broadcom are on pace to win six seats on Qualcomm's board. Qualcomm's current board opposes Broadcom's $117 billion bid for the company and says the price is too low, while a board supported by Broadcom would likely accept the offer instead.
Both stocks fell Monday after U.S. regulators said they would look into the deal. On Tuesday Qualcomm gave up $2.24, or 3.5 per cent, to $61.77 and Broadcom added $3.26, or 1.3 per cent, to $250.24.
COMMODITIES: Gold rose $15.30, or 1.2 per cent, to $1,335.20 an ounce. Silver climbed 37 cents, or 2.3 per cent, to $16.78 an ounce. Copper added 3 cents to $3.16 a pound.
Benchmark U.S. crude added 3 cents to $62.60 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 25 cents to $65.79 a barrel in London.
Wholesale gasoline stayed at $1.93 a gallon. Heating oil rose 1 cent to $1.90 a gallon. Natural gas gained 5 cents to $2.75 per 1,000 cubic feet.
FAMILY FEUD: After an early loss, Nordstrom rose 30 cents to $52.20 after the department store rejected an offer from the Nordstrom family to take it private. It said the price of $50 a share was too low, and it was beneath the stocks' closing price on Monday. The family group includes co-presidents Blake, Peter and Erik Nordstrom. They and other family members own 30 per cent of Nordstrom's stock.
BONDS: Bond prices edged higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.87 per cent from 2.88 per cent.
EUROPE: Germany's DAX rose 0.2 per cent and London's FTSE 100 gained 0.4 per cent. France's CAC 40 added 0.1 per cent.
CURRENCIES: The dollar inched up to 106.21 yen from 106.20 yen. The euro rose to $1.2405 from $1.2327.
AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jayt .