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NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks were nearly flat early Thursday after the Justice Department named a special counsel to probe Russia's involvement in the 2016 US elections.

The announcement of the special counsel late Wednesday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein marked a ratcheting up of scrutiny on President Donald Trump over his campaign's possible ties to Russia. analyst Patrick O'Hare said there is a "cloud of political uncertainty that is hanging over the stock market."

On Wednesday, leading US indices suffered their deepest declines since before the November 2016 election on worries that Trump's growth agenda will languish in the wake of numerous stumbles.

But Thursday's early trading suggested some investors, aware of optimism over growth in US earnings and the US economy, took Wednesday's pullback as a buying opportunity.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 20,582.65, down 0.1 percent.

The broad-based S&P 500 was down a hair at 2,356.12, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.1 percent to 6,015.74.

Wal-Mart Stores rose 2.3 percent after reporting a rise in sales at US stores and sharp increases in e-commerce growth.

Cisco Systems slumped 7.8 percent after announcing it was cutting 1,100 jobs as it reported weaker-than-expected financial results in the past quarter.


Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2017




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