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US: Stocks rebound a bit at open from Wednesday's sag

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks edged higher early Thursday, rebounding a bit from the prior session's declines as market watchers began to tabulate the overall gains for 2016.

Analysts said Thursday's early gains were likely a buy-the-dip move after the Dow gave up more than 100 points on Wednesday in a sleepy session with low volume and little news.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 19,859.71, up 0.1 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.1 per cent to 2,252.54, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.1 per cent to 5,442.35.

Market voices on:

The S&P 500 is on track for more than a 10 per cent gain for 2016.

The year began with sharp losses due to fears about an economic slowdown China and experienced another jolt of volatility after Britain's surprise vote in June to exit the European Union.

But stocks recovered from those challenges and finished the year strongly after the Republican sweep in the November US elections raised hopes of pro-growth policies out of Washington.

Analysts vary in their appraisal of the outlook for 2017, with some predicting additional gains for stocks and others warning the market could be in for a retreat if President-elect Donald Trump fails to deliver major policy changes.