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US: Stocks flat on solid earnings, weak housing data

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks were little changed early Wednesday following lackluster housing data and a batch of mostly good earnings reports.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up slightly at 25,124.31.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose a hair to 2,809.70, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.2 per cent to 7,842.85, retreating from Tuesday's record close.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell was scheduled for another round of congressional hearings a day after his positive views on the US economy helped boost stocks.

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Among economic reports, the pace of US home building slumped to a nine-month low in June. Building permits, a sign of housing supply in the pipeline that is less vulnerable to changes in the weather, also edged down.

Morgan Stanley capped off a strong earnings period for large banks, rising 3.5 per cent as it reported a 39 per cent jump in second-quarter earnings to US$2.4 billion.

United Continental shot up 5.6 per cent as it boosted its full-year earnings forecast to a range of US$7.25 to US$8.75 per share from the prior range of US$7.00 to US$8.50.

Google parent Alphabet climbed 0.2 per cent even as the European Union fined the company 4.3 billion euros (S$6.85 billion) for antitrust abuses with its Android operating system. Google said it would appeal against the penalty.

Texas Instruments added 0.4 per cent as it announced that Brian Crutcher had resigned as chief executive due to violations of the company's code of conduct. He will be replaced by former chief executive Rich Templeton.

AFP