FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here

U.S. equity markets wobbled on Friday after a steep selloff in the last session as traders parsed through tepid economic reports.

Today's Markets

As of 12:30 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8.6 points, or 0.05%, to 16117, the S&P 500 advanced 0.73 point, or 0.04%, to 1847 and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 3 points, or 0.07%, to 4263.

Wall Street took a beating on Thursday, with the S&P 500 tumbling 1.2% in its worst day since February 3. The move, which landed the broad-market index in the red for the year, was sparked by mounting worries about China and its financial system. 

Friday was shaping up to be a quieter day. 

"The data cupboard is almost bare today," analysts at Societe Generale wrote to clients. 

Traders had two reports to look through.

The Labor Department reported wholesale inflation fell 0.1% in February from the month prior, while Wall Street expected a 0.2% increase. Excluding the food and energy components, prices fell 0.2%. There have been concerns that low levels of inflation could turn into disinflation and potentially act as a headwind for economic growth. 

Meanwhile, a report from Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan showed consumer sentiment unexpectedly slumped in early March. The gauge fell to 79.9, from 81.6 last month, missing expectations of a rise to 82.

On the corporate front, General Mills (GIS) warned its third-quarter profits would fall below Wall Street's expectations. Target (TGT) said after the closing bell Thursday that it was aware of a situation that turned into the massive data breach around when it happened, but the information available at the time didn't warrant a further probe. 

Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures rose 43 cents, or 0.44%, to $98.64 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline advanced 0.05% to $2.944 a gallon. Gold rose $1.40, or 0.11%, to $1,374 a troy ounce. 

 

Follow Adam Samson on Twitter @adamsamson.