Stocks Opened Flat as Investors Assessed Data

U.S. stocks opened barely changed on Friday as investors assesses a raft of economic data that could give a clearer idea of when the interest rates will be hiked by the Federal Reserve. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 13.70 points, or l0.08%, to 17,421.95. The S&P 500 was up 1.13 points, or 0.05%, to 2,084.52. The Nasdaq Composite was down 2.46 poinst, or 0.05%, to 5,031.10.

U.S. producer prices rose for a third straight month in July, suggesting the drag on inflation from weaker oil prices was easing. The Labor Department said on Friday its producer price index for final demand increased 0.2 percent last month after increasing 0.4 percent in June.

Thanks largely to increased production of autos, industrial production climbed 0.6% in July, the Federal Reserve said Friday.

J.C. Penney (JCP) reported second-quarter results that topped Wall Street expectations and boosted its financial guidance for the full year. The company reported that its loss for the quarter that ended Aug. 1 narrowed to $138 million, or 45 cents a share.

The eurozone’s economic recovery lost momentum in the second quarter. Gross domestic product growth slowed to 0.3% from 0.4% in the first quarter, missing economists’ forecasts of a 0.4% gain, the European Union statistical agency said Friday.

U.S. crude oil steadied on Friday after falling to its lowest in almost 6-1/2 years as huge stockpiles and refinery shutdowns heightened concerns about global oversupply. U.S. crude hit an intraday low of $41.35 a barrel, its lowest since March 4, 2009, before recovering to $42.28 by 1220 GMT, up 5 cents on the day.

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