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US: Stocks little changed ahead of Yellen speech

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks were little changed early Friday ahead of an address by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that will be closely watched for clues about the near-term prospects for higher interest rates.

Ms Yellen is due to deliver her speech in Chicago after midday. Other US central bankers have signaled in recent days that the US central bank could lift interest rates later this month.

Other Fed speakers were also due at public appearances Friday, including Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, who will speak in New York.

About 10 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 21,027.60, up 0.1 per cent.

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The broad-based S&P 500 was flat at 2,382.02, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added less than 0.1 per cent at 5,862.99.

Costco Wholesale dropped 3.8 per cent after reporting second-quarter profits fell 5.7 per cent to US$515 million. The big-box retailer said it was hiking annual membership rates.