Stocks open higher despite S&P’s warning to Europe

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U.S. stocks are edging higher in early trading even after Standard & Poor’s warned that it might downgrade Europe’s strongest economies.

Overseas markets sank early Tuesday after the credit rating agency put 15 nations that use the euro on “creditwatch negative,” meaning there is a 50-50 chance of a downgrade in the next 90 days. Traders were surprised by threats to Germany and France, which have Europe’s strongest economies. S&P criticized their handling of the debt crisis.

Japan’s Nikkei fell 1.5 percent. Germany’s DAX lost 1 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 20 points, or 0.2 percent, at 12,118 shortly after the market opened. The Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 1, or 0.1 percent, at 1,258. The Nasdaq composite was up 3, or 0.1 percent, at 2,659.