US stocks opened steady on Wednesday after earnings from top Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. beat analysts expectations, and commodity prices extended their gains on weakness in the dollar.
Risk appetite across markets was light on uncertainty over the outcome of Greek debt restructuring talks. Initial enthusiasm for an enhanced fundraising by the International Monetary Fund fizzled after the IMF said it seeking $500 billion, less than initially expected.
"The fact they went from $1 trillion to $500 billion once again causes people to stop, pause, think," said Ken Polcari, managing director at ICAP Equities in New York.
US oil prices rose after the announcement of an impending refinery outage, and copper steadied from early losses.
The yield on US 10-year Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities touched a record low after a government report that showed producer prices unexpectedly fell in December.
The euro rallied broadly after the IMF funding development and indications that Fitch Ratings may not downgrade Italy after all — versus earlier comments by a director of the rating agency that a two-notch downgrade was an option.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 43.22 points, or 0.35 percent, at 12,525.29 an hour after its open. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 5.11 points, or 0.39 percent, at 1,298.78. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 15.69 points, or 0.58 percent, at 2,743.77.
Goldman Sachs rose nearly 4 percent to above $101 after Wall Street's biggest bank by assets topped analyst expectations for the fourth quarter through cost cutting and lower taxes.
Goldman earned $978 million, or $1.84 per share, during the last three months of 2011, down from $2.2 billion, or $3.79 per share, a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.24 per share, according to Thomson Reuters.
World stocks, as measured by the MSCI All World index , rose 0.7 percent, touching a 2-month high.
European shares turned flat, paring early gains, on worries over how the Greece debt restructuring talks would go.
International creditors and the Greek government are meeting later on Wednesday over the interest rate Athens will offer on new bonds and its plan to enforce private investor losses.
A deal with the private sector is vital to cash-strapped Greece if it is to gain its next batch of international aid and avoid going bankrupt when 14.5 billion euros ($18.5 billion) of bond redemptions fall due in late March.
"Greek bond negotiations could trigger more euro weakness as they have to close a deal soon, before Greek debt repayments are due in March," Richard Falkenhall, currency strategist at SEB.
Concerns over Greece led investors to stock up on other European debt.
A German sale of 3.44 billion euros ($4.4 billion)of two-year bonds saw strong demand.
A widely-watched 2.5 billion euro sale of Portuguese treasury bills also benefited from ample liquidity in the financial system. Portugal is the only country in the euro zone, apart from Greece, that is rated as junk levels by all the major rating agencies.
Analysts said euro-zone debt auctions will continue to be a major driver of investor sentiment this week, with several governments lining up to refinance their debt. Attention is expected to be drawn most to French and Spanish bond auctions.