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US: Stocks mixed ahead of Powell testimony

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished mixed on Tuesday ahead of a congressional appearance by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as investors await clues on the likelihood of an interest rate cut.

Mr Powell is set to testify on Wednesday in what will be his first public appearance since a strong June jobs report dampened expectations for aggressive Fed action.

Futures markets still overwhelmingly believe the Fed will cut later this month but some analysts say the Fed could also make no changes.

"Today, the big question is: will the Fed cut in July or not?" said Adam Sarhan, 50 Park Investments. "The immediate pressure on the Fed to cut was removed because of the jobs report."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.1 per cent at 26,783.49.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.1 per cent at 2,979.63, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.5 per cent to 8,141.73.

Among individual companies, PepsiCo dropped 0.6 per cent after reporting second-quarter profits of US$1.54 per share, above analyst expectations. said the muted market reaction was due to the soda maker's gains earlier in the year.

The PepsiCo announcement was among the first big earnings reports of second-quarter earnings season. Analysts expect the S&P 500 to report a drop of 2.6 per cent in earnings for the quarter, according to FactSet.