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US: Wall Street treads water as China virus fears ease

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Wall Street had a mostly flat day on Wednesday, with markets little moved either by strong earnings or a rising death toll blamed on a virus from China.

[NEW YORK] Wall Street had a mostly flat day on Wednesday, with markets little moved either by strong earnings or a rising death toll blamed on a virus from China.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broader S&P 500 were both about flat at 29,186.27 and 3,321.81, respectively.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq managed to eke out a 0.1 per cent gain to finish at 9,383.77, however.

Markets pulled back from records on Tuesday as investors grew worried about the new Sars-like coronavirus in China, which has so far killed more than a dozen and infected hundreds.

But those fears eased in Wednesday's session.

"Today, we found out how much time it would take to contain this and more details and people feel a little bit less nervous about that story," Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Holdings, told AFP.

"This story as a market mover dissipated a bit," he added, saying attention would be more on individual stocks.

IBM rose 3.4 percent after topping fourth-quarter earnings expectations.

But Dow member Boeing fell another 1.4 per cent as newly-installed CEO David Calhoun said the company would stand by its globally-grounded 737 MAX jet.

The company expects to resume production even before authorities allow it to fly again later this year, Calhoun said.

Among other companies reporting earnings, Johnson & Johnson fell 0.7 per cent, Netflix dove 3.6 per cent and United Airlines sank 2.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, electric automaker Tesla topped US$100 billion in market value for the first time, triggering a payout plan that could deliver billions to founder Elon Musk.

AFP