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US stocks witnessed a rather muted opening on Wednesday, with all the three major indices trading with gains of less than 0.1%.

With positive corporate earnings setting the tone for an upbeat season of quarterly results, the ongoing downfall in crude oil prices weighed on shares of energy companies and kept a lid on any meaningful up-move.

Investor digested today’s weaker-than-expected US housing market data and now seemed to wait for the Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s second day of congressional testimony.

On Tuesday, Powell offered an upbeat outlook for the US economy and indicated interest rates will continue to go up gradually, albeit global trade wars and fiscal policy could hinder the central bank’s path toward policy normalization.  

In the latest trade rhetoric, China’s Ministry of Commerce said that it would have to take more steps to compensate for losses caused by the recent US tariffs on steel and aluminium and further collaborated to the early subdued price-action.

As the second-quarter earnings season shifts to high gear, rising expectations might continue to attract dip-buying interest and thus protect any immediate downside for the markets.