Stocks Opened Lower after Industrial Production Data

U.S. stocks opened lower on Friday and then tipped slightly higher on Friday, with investors adopting a cautious stance ahead of a report on consumer confidence. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 4.03 points to 15,172.05. The S&P 500 index was up 0.95 points to 1,637.31. The Nasdaq Composite lost 1.09 points to 3,444.28.

Industrial production was unchanged in May, the Federal Reserve said on Friday, compared with forecasts for a light increase after gains in manufacturing and mining were offset by a sharp drop in the output of utilities.  Analysts had expected a 0.2 percent rise in May industrial output following a revised 0.4 percent decline the
previous month. Factory output rose 0.1 percent, matching expectations, while mining advanced 0.7 percent. But utilities output slumped by 1.8 percent.

Hog producer Smithfield Foods Inc (SFD.N), posted a 63 percent fall in net profit as exports to China and Russia fell due issues related to a drug it uses to produce lean meat. Its net income fell to $29.7 million, or 21 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended April 28, from $79.5 million, or 49 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 3 percent to $3.32 billion.

Inflation in the euro zone rose from a three-year low in May, but remained low enough for the European Central  Bank to act to boost an economy which is shedding jobs at an increasing rate. The central bank expects economic  recovery in the euro area to kick in later this year, but sees risks to growth from governments’ continued
austerity programs and as companies struggle to access credit from banks.

Europe’s newest jetliner, the Airbus A350, successfully completed its maiden flight on Friday, stepping up the  battle with arch-rival Boeing for sales of a new generation of sleek, lightweight passenger aircraft.

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