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US stocks up ahead of 'fiscal cliff' talks

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NEW YORK, Dec 26 AFP

December 27 2012, 02:10AM

US stocks have opened slightly higher, as President Barack Obama heads back to Washington to try to secure a year-end "fiscal cliff" deal with Republican lawmakers.

In roughly the first 15 minutes of trade on Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 22.59 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 13,161.67.

The broad-market S&P 500 was up 0.99 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 1,427.65.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite gained 0.82 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 3,013.42.

"The action today through Friday will be heavily influenced by news on the fiscal cliff negotiations. Underlying that will be support from the traditional year-end bullish bias," said Briefing.com's Dick Green.

"At least for today, it looks like the seasonal support is enough to boost the stock market given the uncertain outlook for the budget negotiations."

On Christmas Eve, the Dow was down 0.39 per cent, while the S&P 500 lost 0.24 per cent and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite shed 0.28 per cent. Markets were closed for Christmas Day.