Wall St. opens mixed as US nears Syria action

Shares on Wall Street opened mixed on Wednesday as the US moved closer to taking military action against Syria.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 20.97 (0.14 percent) at 14,812.99.

The broad-based S&P 500 slipped 0.43 (0.03 percent) to 1,639.34, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 5.45 (0.15 percent) at 3,618.06.

President Obama said in Sweden Wednesday that "in the face of such barbarism," the global community needed to act against Syria.

The comments came as US congressional leaders from both parties signalled support for military action in the wake of Syria's purported chemical weapons attacks on its people.

US investors have reacted nervously to a Syria military strike, as the timing for the expected action continues to be pushed back.

Meanwhile, the US trade deficit in July widened to a greater-than-expected $39.1 billion, up from $34.5 billion in June.

The bigger trade gap will factor negatively in GDP models in the third quarter, said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.