Friday’s Mid-Day Movers: 3 Stories Driving Markets

The U.S. equity markets were simmering in minor losses on Friday afternoon. Underwhelming industrial production data cast a generally gloomy pall over trading activity as investors tuned in to news coming out of the G20 meeting in Moscow.

At 1:00 p.m.: DJIA: -0.05%, S&P 500: -0.15%, NASDAQ: -0.08%.

1) The U.S. Federal Reserve reported industrial production figures that came in below expectations. Friday’s preliminary report showed a 0.1 percent decline in the total industrial production index, compared to expected growth of 0.2 percent. The weaker-than-expected report was led by a 0.4 percent decline in manufacturing, which represents 75 percent of total production.

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But it wasn’t all bad news. Revised data for November and December showed the biggest two-month gain since 1984. Together with construction, the industrial sector accounts for the majority of the variations in national output over the course of the business cycle, and therefore these measurements provide an important reading of the health of the economy. While January’s dip is unfortunate, hope remains that February’s numbers will come in stronger… (Read more.)