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US stocks flat as market awaits Obama speech

US stocks opened flat Tuesday as markets looked ahead to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in the evening.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 7.99 points (0.06 percent) to 13,979.23.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.28 point (0.02 percent) to 1,517.29, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite fell 0.61 (0.02 percent) to 3,191.40.

Investors will be watching Obama's nationally televised speech at 9:00 pm (0200 GMT Wednesday) to gauge "content and tone as a guide for assessing the likelihood of avoiding sequestration slated to go into effect March 1," said Patrick O'Hare of Briefing.com.