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US: Stocks flat ahead of Fed meeting

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Wall Street stocks were essentially flat in early trading Monday to open a newsy weak that includes a likely Federal Reserve interest rate hike.

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks were essentially flat in early trading Monday to open a newsy weak that includes a likely Federal Reserve interest rate hike.

Other key events this week include an expected decision by British Prime Minister Theresa May to officially launch negotiations to exit the European Union, and an election in the Netherlands that could see the far right party make gains.

About 15 minutes into the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 20,887.97, down 0.1 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 was down a hair at 2,371.89, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained less than 0.1 per cent to 5,864.98.

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Analysts widely expect the Fed to pull the trigger on Wednesday and raise the benchmark lending rate following a run of mostly strong economic data, including Friday's solid US jobs report for February.

Raising the interest rate typically pressures stocks, but "the Fed has been telegraphing their desire to raise rates for quite some time," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.

"While we think stocks could fall by five percent or more at any time, we don't think a selloff will be triggered by a rate hike likely to be announced at the conclusion of this Wednesday's FOMC meeting," Mr Stovall said.

In corporate news, Dow member Intel dropped 1.0 per cent after announcing an agreement to buy Israeli car technology firm Mobileye a deal worth more than $15 billion.

AFP

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