Stocks Move Modestly Higher Despite Disappointing Data

After initially showing a lack of direction, stocks have moved modestly higher over the course of the trading session on Friday. With the upward move on the day, the major averages reached new record intraday highs.

The major averages have pulled back off their best levels of the day but remain in positive territory. The Dow is up 49.08 points or 0.2 percent at 22,252.56, the Nasdaq is up 23.07 points or 0.4 percent at 6,452.16 and the S&P 500 is up 2.28 points or 0.1 percent at 2,497.90.

The strength on Wall Street comes as traders have shrugged off some disappointing economic reports, as the data was impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Before the start of trading, the Commerce Department released a report showing retail sales dipped by 0.2 percent in August after rising by a downwardly revised 0.3 percent in July.

Economists had expected retail sales to inch up by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.6 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

The unexpected decrease in retail sales largely reflected a sharp drop in sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, which plunged by 1.6 percent in August after coming in unchanged in July.

Excluding the slump in auto sales, retail sales rose by 0.2 percent in August after climbing by 0.4 percent in July. Ex-auto sales had been expected to increase by 0.5 percent.

A separate report from the Federal Reserve unexpectedly showed a notable decrease in industrial production in August.

The report said industrial production slumped by 0.9 percent in August after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.4 percent in July. Economists had expected production to inch up by 0.1 percent.

The Fed said Hurricane Harvey is estimated to have reduced the rate of change in total output by roughly three-quarters of a percentage point.

Additionally, a report from the University of Michigan showed concerns about the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have weighed on consumer sentiment in September.

Traders may be expressing optimism that the impact of…

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