US stocks open mixed amid cautious trade

US equity markets witnessed a mixed opening on Wednesday as investors look ahead to the third presidential debate later during the day. Higher oil prices and upbeat results from Morgan Stanley helped negate disappointing housing starts data.

During early trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained around 30 points to 18,195, while the broader S&P 500 Index rose mere 2 points to at 2,141. Meanwhile, tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index underperformed the broader indices and lost around 5 points to 5,240.

US housing market data, release on Wednesday, showed building permits rose to an annualized pace of 1.225 million units in September, while housing starts crashed to 18-month lows and came-in at 1.0477 million annual pace. Traders on Wednesday will also be focusing on the third and final presidential debate for fresh impetus. 

In other markets, the overall US Dollar Index traded with mild losses, primarily led by its weakness against the Japanese Yen, and extended support to dollar-denominated commodities - like gold. Meanwhile, WTI crude oil moved back above $51.00/barrel mark on expectations of a decline in US domestic crude oil inventories and hence, would be focusing on the official EIA report on weekly stockpiles.