US opens in 'wait and see' mode

US markets remained in a state of consolidation in early trading in the wake of yesterday's decision by Federal Reserve officials to keep rates unchanged, while maintaining a relatively upbeat outlook.

Despite a slight uptick in oil and gold prices, confidence remains fragile ahead of Friday's non-farm payrolls data. In the meantime, traders continue to try and fathom out the economic impact of the new Trump administration.

Shortly after the open, the Dow was down 31.42 points, or 0.16%, at 19,859.52, the S&P 500 eased 5.36 points, or 0.24%, to 2,274.19 and the Nasdaq fell 17.29 points, or 0.31%, to 5,625.36.

At 2:50pm (GMT), WTI crude was up 0.32% to $54.05/bbl and Brent was up 0.35% to $57.00/bbl. Gold was trading around $1,223/oz.

In economic news, outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported job cuts for January increased to 46k, up from 34k in December.

US initial unemployment claims rose to 259k in the week ending 21 January, an increase of 22k from the previous week's revised level, the US Department of Labor said.

In addition, data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that non-farm labour productivity increased at a 3.1% annual rate and unit labor costs increased 1.7% during the third quarter of 2016.