NEW YORK (AP) — Stock futures edged higher Friday after the government reported rising retail sales in August and tame inflation.
Dow Jones industrial futures rose 23 points to 15,269. S&P futures gained a half a point to 1,678.80. Nasdaq futures rose 4 points to 3,173.50.
The Commerce Department’s retail report offered a mixed bag, as consumers did not spend overall as much as economists had projected.
While Americans spent more on cars, electronics and furniture, they didn’t spend on much else.
The 0.2 percent rise was half of what economists had expected.
Given some of the ebbing sales numbers put up by specialty retailers in the past month, the 0.8 percent drop-off in spending on clothes reported by the government Friday was unlikely to have caught many off guard.
Last month, Nordstrom, Macy’s and Wal-Mart all cut their outlooks for the year with shoppers foregoing new clothes, at least for now, in favor of big ticket items.
The government also reported that wholesale prices rose 0.3 percent last month. But that means over the past year, prices have only gained 1.4 percent, the most meager one-year increase since April.
One thing driving wholesale prices higher was energy, which saw price spikes as a conflict with Syria looked increasingly likely.
European and Asian markets were weighed down early by a report in Japan’s Nikkei newspaper saying that Larry Summers will be named to head the U.S. Federal Reserve after the central bank meets next week.
Summers is believed to have a less favorable view of the aggressive bond-buying program that has flooded markets with cash.
The yen slid against the U.S. dollar.