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US: Stocks flat ahead of Q2 bank earnings

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks were little changed early Monday to open a week that includes highly-anticipated testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and second quarter earnings reports.

Ms Yellen will update lawmakers on the outlook for the US economy and her expectations for additional interest rate increases in her twice-annual appearance before congressional committees.

Earnings season gets underway in earnest on Friday with reports from JPMorgan Chase and other large banks. Banks are flush with cash after clearing the Federal Reserve stress tests, raising the prospect that financial giants could turn to acquisitions as a way to grow.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 21,395.44, down 0.1 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 added a hair at 2,425.40, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.1 per cent to 6,160.50.

Companies in the S&P 500 are projected to register 6.2 per cent growth in earnings-per-share compared with the second quarter of 2016, according to CFRA. The strongest gains are expected in energy and information technology.

A fractious Group of 20 leaders summit concluded Saturday with a communique that revealed the gulf in views on climate change, acknowledging President Donald Trump's decision to take the United States out of the 2015 Paris deal and clearly stating Washington's wish to continue using and selling fossil fuels that are a main driver of global warming.