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US: Stocks flat as market awaits earnings

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks were little changed early Tuesday as the market awaits major corporate earnings releases later in the week.

Analysts have expressed concerns that corporate earnings growth may not match expectations built into a big stock market rally since Donald Trump's election victory in November.

A note from equity research firm CFRA predicted most companies would be cautious about upgrading earnings forecasts in light of tax cuts and other policies expected to be pursued by Washington.

Earnings season begins in earnest on Friday with reports from banks JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

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About 15 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 19,854.17, down 0.2 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.1 per cent at 2,267.67, while the tech-rich Nasdaq composite Index edged up less than 0.1 per cent at 5,533.70.

Chipotle Mexican Grill rose 3.9 per cent as it reported that comparable sales in December rose 14.7 per cent from the year-ago level. The 2015 results were marred by worries about food safety after a series of illness outbreaks at restaurants.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International jumped 10.2 per cent on news it will sell a trio of skincare brands to L'Oreal for US$1.3 billion.