US STOCKS-Wall St set to open flat, slight progress made in Washington

Tue Oct 8, 2013 9:06am EDT
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* Obama shows flexibilty on short-term debt limit hike

* Talisman Energy climbs on Icahn stake

* PHH exploring unit split - sources

* J.C. Penney jumps on turnaround update

* Futures up: Dow 9 pts, S&P 1.1 pts, Nasdaq up 4.5 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Oct 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were poised for a flat open on Tuesday on faint signs of progress to resolve the fiscal standoff in Washington, although an agreement still remained elusive.

With the partial U.S. government shutdown in its second week and only nine days left for Congress to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, President Barack Obama said he would accept a short-term increase to avoid a default.

A Senate aide said Republican Senator Rob Portman, who is influential on budget matters, floated a plan to cut federal spending and reform the U.S. tax code as part of a broader deal to reopen shuttered government agencies and raise the debt ceiling.   Continued...