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US: Stocks dip on anxiety over Syria, French election

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks dipped early Thursday as continued nervousness about the French presidential election, Syria and other geopolitical issues offset better-than-expected banking earnings.

Investors were skittish as the United States and Russia sparred over what to do in Syria, while tightening political polls in France was "breeding a heightened sense of uncertainty," Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare said.

Markets also grappled with speculation on the effect of comments from President Donald Trump backing low interest rates and expressing concern about the strong dollar.

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 20,566.36, down 0.1 per cent.

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The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.1 per cent to 2,342.05, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.1 per cent to 5,833.45.

JPMorgan Chase rose 1.1 per cent after reporting a 16.8 per cent rise in first-quarter earnings to US$6.5 billion, compared to a year earlier, while Citigroup climbed 0.8 per cent after also reporting a 16.8 per cent increase in earnings to US$4.1 billion.

Both banks benefited from strong trading results in the first three months of the year, as well as a decline in funds set aside for bad energy loans.

In contrast, Wells Fargo dropped 2.1 per cent as it reported flat earnings of US$5.5 billion, underscoring its challenge in recovering from a fake accounts scandal.

AFP

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