NEW YORK: US stocks slipped into the red in early trading Wednesday as investors digested earnings reports while keeping one eye warily on the ongoing fighting in the Middle East.

US President Joe Biden traveled to Israel shortly after a strike on a hospital in the Gaza Strip, which the Hamas-run health ministry say killed at least 471 people.

Israel and Hamas have blamed each other for the strike, while Biden said Wednesday “it appears” it was the result of a misfired rocket by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Wall Street advances on upbeat earnings

Shortly after trading began on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.3 percent at 33,911.74

The broad-based S&P 500 was down 0.4 percent at 4,354.77, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite index was trading down 0.5 percent at 13,472.48.

“Equity traders are really not very good at factoring in geopolitical events, such as the type that we’re seeing in the Middle East, because the cause and effect is not particularly clear,” Steve Sosnick from Interactive Brokers told AFP.

“Ultimately, equity markets and stocks do have to worry about what’s going on in bond markets and what’s going on in commodity markets, particularly oil,” he continued.

“They’re all unsettled, and so as a result, you get this unsettled feeling in the market.”

Among individual stocks, United Airlines saw its share price fall more than seven percent after reporting earnings for the thrid quarter.

The US airline warned that the conflict could cause a prolonged pause on routes into Tel Aviv, which would hit its profitability.

Shares in the US bank Morgan Stanley dropped more than five percent after it reported disappointing earnings for the third quarter.

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