NEW YORK, Feb 18 — Wall Street opened in a happier mood today as traders recovered some of the previous session’s losses despite ongoing concerns over the Ukraine crisis and looming Federal Reserve rate hikes.

US stocks took a severe tumble on Wednesday as Washington warned a Russian assault on Ukraine could be imminent, while investors have been on edge for weeks as Fed officials repeatedly signalled they will hike rates from zero at their March meeting, potentially by half a percentage point.

“Clearly the two biggest headwinds are the tensions between Russia and Ukraine and where that stands, but also the sort of messaging around what the Fed might do to monetary policy in the next meeting,” Art Hogan of National Securities told AFP.

“Both of those seem to have investors pretty jittery.”

Indices were in positive territory about 30 minutes into trading, with the broad-based S&P 500 0.3 per cent higher at 4,392.16.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1 per cent at 34,344.08, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index had gained 0.2 per cent to 13,749.65.

Investors will pay close attention to speeches later in the day by Fed Governors Lael Brainard and Christopher Waller as well as New York Fed President John Williams, looking for signs of what steps the central bank might take to fight inflation. — AFP