US stocks flat ahead of iPhone 7 launch

(FILES) This file photo taken on June 13, 2016 shows the Apple logo displayed on a screen at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference presentation at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California. Apple logo/ AFP PHOTO / GABRIELLE LURIE

(FILES) This file photo taken on June 13, 2016 shows the Apple logo displayed on a screen at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference presentation at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California.<br />Apple logo/ AFP PHOTO / GABRIELLE LURIE

US stocks were little changed early Wednesday ahead of Apple’s expected launch of a new iPhone and the Federal Reserve’s “Beige Book” report assessing economic conditions around the country.

Apple shares were flat a few hours before the San Francisco event, which could also see the introduction of a second-generation smartwatch.

About 35 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 18,524.94, down 0.1 percent.

The broad-based S&P 500 lost less than 0.1 percent at 2,185.62, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.1 percent to 5,281.54.

Chipotle Mexican Grill advanced 6.2 percent after activist investor Bill Ackman disclosed a nearly 10 percent stake in the restaurant chain and said he plans to engage the company’s board on discussions on strategy and business operations.

Midsized oil company Apache jumped 8.6 percent as it announced a large new hydrocarbon discovery in Texas and raised its capital spending plan.

Western Digital shot up 10.6 percent after the hard drive and flash storage company raised its forecast following the acquisition of SanDisk.

Airline shares were strong, with American Airlines, United Continental and Delta Air Lines all up five percent or more.

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