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US:Wall St flat as countdown to Trump's swearing-in begins


[WASHINGTON] US stocks were flat on Thursday, with investors seemingly wary of taking on risk ahead of Donald Trump's swearing-in as US president on Friday.

At 9.37 am ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 9.34 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 19,814.06 - snapping a four-day losing streak.

The S&P 500 was up 1.8 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 2,273.69 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 11.46 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 5,567.11.

After having driven Wall Street to record highs in a post-election rally, investors are on the sidelines as they await Mr Trump's inaugural speech to get a steer on his policies.

Markets are also eyeing a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. "Investors' concerns on Mr Trump delivering his campaign promises is probably the real 'Fear Factor'," Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial wrote in a note.

With the fourth-quarter earnings season picking up pace, Dow components IBM and American Express, scheduled to report results after market close, will be in focus.

In an appearance on Wednesday, Ms Yellen said the US economy was getting closer to running on its own, but soothed some nerves by adding that it made sense to raise interest rates gradually.

Ms Yellen is expected to speak on monetary policy at Stanford University on Friday.

Investors have been worried that Trump's pro-growth policy proposals may boost inflation, forcing the central bank to increase the pace of rate hikes.

Ms Yellen's comments on Wednesday indicated that the plan to raise rates three times this year is not "farfetched", Mr Cardillo said.


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