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NEW YORK, Feb 20 AFP

February 21 2013, 01:47AM

US stocks opened flat on Wednesday as investors digested mixed housing and inflation data and awaited the minutes of last month's Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.18 points (0.01 per cent) at 14,036.85.

The S&P 500-stock index slipped 1.43 points (0.09 per cent) to 1,529.51 and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite edged down 0.82 point (0.03 per cent) to 3,212.78.

The Dow and the S&P finished at new five-year highs on Tuesday after posting modest gains.

Patrick O'Hare at Briefing.com said the upward climb "was defined not so much by unbridled buying interest as it was by a lack of selling interest."

"The fear of missing out on further gains in the equity market continues to trounce the fear of anything bad happening. That mindset is impressive and at the same time unsettling," he said.

The Fed's Federal Open Market Committee minutes for the January 29-30 meeting were scheduled for release at 2pm (0600 AEDT).