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US Stock Market Overview – Stocks Settle Mixed; But S&P and Nasdaq Close a Weekly All-time Highs

Consumer sentiment rises despite coronavirus
David Becker

US stocks were mixed on Friday, as better than expected consumer sentiment was offset by weak industrial production. Retail sales came out in line with expectations but core retail sales were soft. Sectors in the S&P 500 index were mixed, with Energy the worst-performing sector. Utilities bucked the trend. Concerns over the coronavirus ahead of the US President’s Day long weekend, saw traders take profits.

Consumer Sentiment Rises More than Expected

The University of Michigan reported that consumer sentiment figures for February came in higher than expected. Consumer sentiment index came in at 100.9 for February. Expectations had been that February consumer sentiment to come in at 99.5. Consumers’ assessment of current economic conditions was virtually unchanged from January while expectations rose slightly.

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Retail Sales Rise in Line with Expectations

The Commerce Department reported that US retail sales rose 0.3% in January, in line with expectations. Data for December was revised down to show retail sales gaining 0.2% instead of climbing 0.3% as previously reported. Auto sales rebounded 0.2% after slumping 1.7% in December. Sales at building material stores jumped 2.1%, the most since last August. Retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services were unchanged last month. Data for December was revised down to show the so-called core retail sales rising 0.2% instead of jumping 0.5% as previously reported. Expectations were for core retail sales to rise 0.3% last month. The unchanged reading in core retail sales suggested consumer spending slowed further.

US Industrial Production Fell in January

The Federal Reserve reported that US industrial production fell 0.3% in January. The Fed said manufacturing production fell 0.1% in January, matching forecasts, but December’s manufacturing output was revised lower to a 0.1% gain from a previously reported 0.2% gain. Overall industrial output for December was revised downward to a 0.4% reduction from a previously reported 0.3% drop. Expectations has been that industrial output would fall 0.2% in January, with manufacturing output forecast to be down 0.1%. On a year over year basis production at factories fell 0.8% in January.

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