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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

New York (AFP) — U.S. shares traded fairly flat early Tuesday, appearing to continue taking a breather that started last Friday after a solid one-month run.

But biotech shares got a boost from Vertex Pharmaceuticals (+40.6 percent) after it reported promising results in tests of two drugs for treating cystic fibrosis.

Thirty minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 13.52 points (0.08 percent) to 16,923.74.

The broad-based S&P 500 slipped 1.32 (0.07 percent) to 1,961.29, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite gained 5.47 (0.13 percent) to 4,374.14.

“By and large, markets look to be consolidating some of their recent gains as the end of the second quarter approaches,” said Patrick O’Hare of Briefing.com.

Facebook led the major companies with a 1.6 percent gain, while Philip Morris slipped 1.6 percent.

On the Dow, UnitedHealth was the biggest gainer, up 0.5 percent.

Blackberry eased 2.2 percent after three days of gains that came on an improvement in the struggling smartphone maker’s finances.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year U.S/ Treasury fell to 2.60 percent from 2.62 percent, while the 30-year dropped to 3.42 percent from 3.45 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

AFP Photo / Spencer Platt

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Donald Trump Jr.

Screenshot from Twitter

You've probably heard about Donald Trump's claim that his Democratic rival got "a big fat se onhot in the ass" before delivering a nearly perfect performance on a recently televised town hall. Or his more recent demand that Joe Biden get a "drug test" before their debate on Tuesday night. Having spent months lowering expectations for Biden, the Trumps are now busily defaming him as a junkie.

But that particular slur backfired spectacularly over the weekend when the Trump campaign posted a bizarre video of Don Jr. -- seemingly in a condition that called for rehab services. As his father might put it, "many people are saying" that the presidential spud looked and sounded like someone abusing a controlled substance. (His slurred message was disturbed too, something about an "army of able-bodied men and women" to intimidate voters).

It's both funny and sad to watch Don Jr. decompensate on Twitter. (More funny, though.)

Click and judge his condition for yourself.