LONDON (AP) -- Markets around the world took the return of trading on Wall Street after a two-day suspension due to superstorm Sandy in stride Wednesday.
The New York Stock Exchange closed Monday and Tuesday as the storm hit the city, leaving scores dead and a massive cleanup operation.
With the New York subway still down and a backlog of corporate earnings to digest, trading had the potential to be erratic, especially since Wednesday was the last trading day of the month, when many investors close out positions and try to improve their accounts.
"It goes without saying that today's open promises to be quite volatile as some spooked investors look to unload while others loot up on positions they've been itching to move for two days," said Alex Koustas, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets.
But so far it's been a smooth start on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones industrial average up 0.5 percent at 13,172 and the broader S&P 500 index 0.4 percent higher at 1,417. General Motors was a standout, rising 4 percent after the carmaker reported a turnaround in South America and a rosier outlook in Europe.
In Europe, Germany's DAX rose 0.4 percent to 7,311 while the CAC-40 in France rose 0.1 percent to 3,462. Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.2 percent, however, at 5,835.
Markets generally remained buoyant despite the U.S. storm, although Fawad Razaqzada, market strategist at GFT Markets, said "insurers and infrastructure companies are certainly going to be worth watching as traders try to get a handle on the impact" they will face from the storm.
There's a raft of U.S. economic news to be released over the next few days, culminating in Friday's nonfarm payrolls data, which often sets the market tone for a week or two. This time it may have a more notable impact, coming ahead of Tuesday's closely-fought U.S. presidential election.
In the currency markets, the euro managed to brush off figures showing that unemployment in the 17-country eurozone climbed to a record 11.6 percent in September. When the appetite for risk among investors increases, as evident in the rise of stock markets, traders often buy the euro and sell the dollar. By mid-afternoon London time, the euro was 0.3 percent higher on the day at $1.30.
"The dollar is down for second day, price action that appears to be more of a positive reaction to international developments, rather than a negative U.S. currency reaction in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy," said Nick Bennenbroek, head of currency strategy at Wells Fargo Bank.
Oil prices though were flat with the benchmark New York rate unchanged at $85.54 a barrel.
Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index closed 0.1 percent lower at 8,928.29 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 1 percent to 21,641.82. Mainland China's main index in Shanghai close 0.4 percent higher at 2068.88.