And just like that, the Dow's epic 10-day win streak is over, and today's close is NOT an all-time high.
First, the scoreboard:
Dow Jones: 14,514.11, - 25.03 (-0.17%)
S&P 500: 1,560.72, - 2.51 (-0.16%)
Nasdaq: 3,249.07, - 9.86 (-0.30%)
And now, the top stories:
- A steady flow of economic data was released Friday morning after a fairly quiet week. First out were February consumer prices at 8:30 AM ET. The headline index rose 0.7 percent from last month, above expectations for a 0.5 percent increase. However, core inflation (stripping out food and energy) rose 0.2 percent, right in line with expectations.
- Also at 8:30 was the release of the New York Fed's monthly Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline index moderated to 9.24 after a surprise surge to 10.04 from negative territory last month. Economists were expecting a smaller tick down to 10.00. Markets didn't respond much to either 8:30 release.
- February industrial production growth figures leaked a few minutes ahead of the scheduled 9:15 release. Although the numbers came in better than expected (0.8 percent vs. 0.5 percent), markets began to sell off on the news.
- The University of Michigan released the results of its preliminary March consumer confidence survey at 9:55, and it was not good news. The index, which was expected to rise to 80 from last month's 77.6 reading, actually fell sharply to 71.8. The decline was driven by consumers' outlook for future economic conditions as opposed to current conditions. In a statement, U of M said, “Never before in the long history of the surveys have so many consumers spontaneously mentioned that the disarray in federal economic policy was the main problem facing the economy.”
- President Obama unveiled an "energy blueprint" for his second presidential term this morning, which featured natural gas fairly prominently. Natural gas futures got a nice bump on the news.
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