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US STOCKS-Wall Street flat as Apple-led tech gains offset energy losses

* Oil prices extend losses, down 1.15 pct

* Apple rises for 3rd day in a row; boosts all indexes

* Sarepta jumps as key drug critic leaves FDA

* Indexes up: Dow 0.07 pct, S&P 0.1 pct, Nasdaq 0.29 pct (Updates to open)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Sept 14 Wall Street was little changed on Wednesday as gains in technology stocks, led by Apple, were offset by a decline in energy stocks on the back of lower oil prices.

Apple was up 1.6 percent, giving the three major indexes their biggest boost and rising for the third day in a row on reports of strong demand for the new iPhones.

The technology sector was up 0.38 percent, one of the six gainers among the 10 major S&P 500 indexes. That was in sharp contrast to the declines in all sectors on Tuesday.

U.S. stocks have swung wildly since Friday on contrasting comments from Federal Reserve officials on whether the central bank would raise interest rates at its Sept. 20-21 meeting.

The benchmark S&P 500 index fell 1.4 percent on Tuesday after having gained by a similar measure on Monday. The index had fallen 2.45 percent on Friday.

"The market is preparing for the worst, which is a rate hike in the U.S., and hoping for the best," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

"That mindset is causing back and forth swings in the past few days."

At 9:57 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 12.95 points, or 0.07 percent, at 18,079.7.

The S&P 500 index was up 2.17 points, or 0.1 percent, at 2,129.19.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 15.14 points, or 0.29 percent, at 5,170.39.

The CBOE Market Volatility index, known as Wall Street's fear gauge, has also spiked and dropped with the stock market's gyrations. The index was down 2 percent on Wednesday.

"There are also opportunistic traders out there, short-covering and bargain hunting with the mindset to trade shorter-term and that's what is causing those sharp moves," Bakhos said.

Oil prices fell 1.15 percent, sending the S&P energy index down 0.27 percent.

Monsanto rose 0.7 percent to $106.89 after Bayer agreed to buy the seed maker for $66 billion.

Vitae Pharmaceuticals shares doubled to $20.84 after Allergan said it would buy the company for $639 million. Allergan rose 1.4 percent.

Sarepta surged 20 percent to $30.70 after Oppenheimer said a key critic of company's muscle disorder drug has left the FDA.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,475 to 1,218. On the Nasdaq, 1,221 issues fell and 1,131 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed no new 52-week highs and three new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 13 new highs and 23 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

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