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US: Stocks flat as North Korea fears weigh on sentiment

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks were little changed early Friday as nervousness over North Korea and a weak US growth report offset strong earnings reports from Amazon, ExxonMobil and others.

About 10 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 20,959.92, down 0.1 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 lost a hair at 2,388.63, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.2 per cent at 6,063.15.

Earnings from Amazon jumped 41 percent to US$724 million, with chief executive Jeff Bezos talking up new investment in India. Shares rose 2.5 per cent.

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ExxonMobil reported that first-quarter net income more than doubled to US$4.0 billion on higher oil prices, topping analyst expectations. Shares climbed 1.2 per cent.

But analysts said investors were edgy about North Korea after President Donald Trump was quoted as saying there was "a chance" of "a major, major conflict" with the country.

US economic growth came in at just 0.7 per cent in the first quarter, according to government estimates, well below analyst expectations for 1.1 per cent GDP growth.

Among other large companies reporting earnings, those with big share price moves included Google parent Alphabet, up 4.3 per cent, General Motors, up 1.3 percent, Starbucks, down 2.7 per cent, and Intel, down 3.0 percent.