Stock exchange traded funds were mixed Thursday before two key speeches on the U.S. economy from President Barack Obama and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) was flat in chopping trading along with the Dow at last check.

Obama is scheduled to deliver a highly anticipated speech to Congress on Thursday night. He is expected to unveil a $300 billion stimulus plan to boost the struggling economy and fight a stubbornly high unemployment rate. [Obama Speech Preview]

Separately, Fed chief Bernanke is expected to speak on the U.S. economy on Thursday afternoon. Markets will be looking for any hints of further easing from the central bank. [Fed Easing Speculation Lifts Gold ETFs]

“This is an opportunity for him to prepare the market that something might be coming,” said Jessica Hoversen, fixed income and currency analyst at MF Global, in a Reuters report.

“Investors are trying to decide whether they should surrender to attractive valuations and buy into a market that may be propelled by the President’s jobs speech and the prospect of additional quantitative easing, or, if by doing so, they would only be responding to a siren call as the U.S. ultimately heads into recession on the heels of a renewed price decline,” Standard & Poor’s said in a note.

“Despite a 12-month target for the S&P 500 that projects a price advance of nearly 17%, S&P believes that near-term risks remain elevated and advises a cautious stance, since President Obama’s job proposals may not go far enough to jumpstart a half-speed economy, combined with the reluctance of members of the House to approve proposals that would increase the deficit,” the report said.

SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average

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