US stocks waver narrowly amid data, earnings

New York: US stocks fluctuated between small gains and losses in the morning session on Friday, as investors digested the newly-released economic data as well as corporate earnings reports.

By midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 8.14 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 20,926.41. The S&P 500 lost 0.86 point, or 0.04 per cent, to 2,380.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index edged down 0.31 point, or 0.01 per cent, to 5,900.45, Xinhua news agency reported.

US industrial production was unchanged in February following a 0.1 per cent decrease in January, the Federal Reserve reported on Friday. In February, manufacturing output moved up 0.5 per cent for its sixth consecutive monthly increase.

“The January and February manufacturing gains mark the best two-month performance in three years, reinforcing recent signs that domestic manufacturing is rebounding from recent lows as the global economy stabilizes and the dollar’s rapid run-up dissipates,” said economic analyst Sophia Kearney-Lederman.

Meanwhile, the preliminary reading of the consumer sentiment for March rose to 97.6 from 96.3 in February, said the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment on Friday.

Investors also kept a close eye on the meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors, which kicks off in Germany’s Baden-Baden on Friday.

On Thursday, US stocks pared early gains to close mixed as investors continued to assess the impacts of the Fed’s rate hike decision.