NEW YORK, Feb 14 — US stocks opened mixed today as traders grappled with comments from a regional Federal Reserve president advocating for the central bank to be aggressive in raising interest rates.

Wall Street has struggled as it becomes increasingly likely the Fed will make its first interest rate hike since the pandemic began to cut into US inflation, which caused consumer prices to post their biggest annual rise in nearly four decades in January.

Before markets opened, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told CNBC the central bank should “front load” its actions and raise the benchmark borrowing rate to one per cent by July.

About 20 minutes into trading, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.4 per cent at 34,598.20.

The broad-based S&P 500 was flat at 4,417.66, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index had gained 0.5 per cent to 13,864.37.

Also of concern to US traders is the ongoing standoff between Russia and Ukraine that has drawn in the United States and other Nato members. 

Moscow said today that a diplomatic solution to its standoff with the West was still possible and that some of its military drills were ending.

Lockheed Martin lost 1.6 per cent after abandoning a takeover of Aerojet Rocketdyne after the US competition regulator sued to put a stop to it. Aerojet was down 2.8 per cent. — AFP