US Stocks Grapple With Weak Data


US Stocks Grapple With Weak Data

US stocks wavered between small gains and losses on Friday weighed down by weak economic data that pointed to a slowdown in economic growth just a day after the benchmark S&P 500 ended at a record high.

The major indexes were however still on track to end the week with modest gains aided in most part by Thursday’s rally.

Two sets of data on the US manufacturing industry released ahead of the bell came in well below market expectation underlying a recent slowdown in economic growth.

According to data released by the Federal Reserve, industrial output, which measures the production of utilities, factories and mines in the US, fell for the fifth straight month in April.

Industrial production declined y 0.3% weighed down by declines in mining and utilities. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecasted a 0.1% growth.

Separately, consumer sentiment for April declined more than expected in the month of May to offset positive market sentiment after the US bonds market stabilized after a recent selloff.

“Bond markets now appear to have stabilized, and if anything, they’re paring some of the losses, which is helping overall sentiment,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, told Market Watch.

“The perception that the Fed will be forced to hold off on its first rate hike a little longer, following those weak retail-sales figures on Wednesday, is also supporting equity markets.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was most recently flat at 18,251.10 pairing losses from earlier in the session where it was down by as many as 30 points.

The S&P was most recently down by 2.38 points or 0.11% at 2119.09 points with about seven of its ten key sectors fluctuating between even and slight gains. Utilities led the gains rising by 0.8% on the day.

The Nasdaq Composite was trading 12.68 points or 0.25% lower at 5049.55.

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