US Economic Data Tests Market Confidence

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US Economic Data Tests

US markets were mixed on Friday as data on retail spending and producer prices raised questions about the buoyancy of the economy.

The Dow Jones was down 37.05 points to 18576.47, while the wider S&P 500 was 1.74 points lower at 2184.05.

The tech-based Nasdaq climbed 4.5 points to 5232.89.

US retail sales in July came in at $457.7bn, an unexpectedly flat figure compared with June, when there had been strong consumer spending.

Producers prices took an unexpected drop, suggesting a continuingly weak inflation environment that may make it difficult for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this year.

The producer price index – the measure of the costs for services and energy products- dropped 0.4% in July. The first drop since March.

Elsewhere, economic data showing China’s economy slowing down had no marked effect on trading, while data from the eurozone confirmed it grew at 0.3% in the second quarter.

Winners on the Dow were Exxon Mobil which climbed 1.3% and Coca-Cola up 0.6%.

Shares of Alibaba rose 7% one day after the e-commerce giant reported its largest revenue growth as a public company.

Banks saw their stock prices fall over concerns that the Fed will hold interest rates at ultra-low levels.

JP Morgan and Bank of America were down 0.2%. Goldman Sachs fell 0.4% and Wells Fargo slipped 0.7%.

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