Stocks May Open Flat As Traders Digest Economic, Earnings News

Economic and earnings news is likely to be in focus in early trading on Friday following the modest strength seen in the previous session. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by just 4 points.

The Commerce Department recently released a report showing retail sales unexpectedly decreased for the second consecutive month in June.

The report said retail sales fell by 0.2 percent in June after edging down by a revised 0.1 percent in May. The continued drop in sales surprised economists, who had expected sales to inch up by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.3 percent decrease originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding auto sales, retail sales still dipped by 0.2 percent in June following the 0.3 decline seen in May. Ex-auto sales were expected to rise by 0.2 percent.

A separate report released by the Labor Department showed consumer prices came in unchanged in the month of June.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index was flat in June after edging down by 0.1 percent in May. Economists had expected consumer prices to inch up by 0.1 percent.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices crept up by 0.1 percent for the third consecutive month. Core prices had been expected to rise by 0.2 percent.

On the earnings front, financial giants Wells Fargo (WFC), Citigroup (C), and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) are all moving lower in pre-market trading after reporting their second quarter results.

Wells Fargo may come under pressure after reporting better than expected second quarter earnings but on weaker than expected revenues.

The downward momentum for Citigroup comes after the company reported better than expected second quarter earnings and revenues but a slowdown in trading activity.

Meanwhile, JPMorgan is seeing pre-market weakness despite reporting second quarter results that beat analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Shortly after the start of trading, the Federal…

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