Dow Sputters as Devastating Data Crushes Economic Optimism

  • The Dow lurched sideways to close another volatile trading session.
  • U.S. economic data continues to underwhelm, and retail sales missed expectations by a wide margin.
  • Donald Trump is getting aggressive with China, and CNBC’s Jim Cramer thinks this is bad news for the stock market.

An impressive oil price rally helped support the Dow Jones on Friday. But the bounce wasn’t sufficient to help the stock market completely shake off some brutal economic data that has hopes for a rapid recovery fading fast.

Dow Whipsaws After Retail Data Spooks Bulls

All three of the major stock market indices swung wildly to close the week, bouncing between gains and losses throughout the session.

  • The Dow slid 55.35 points or 0.23% to 23,569.99.
  • The S&P 500 dipped 0.14% to 2,848.88.
  • The Nasdaq edged 0.31% higher to 8,971.31.
The Dow Jones was all over the place on Friday. Dire retail sales data is finally dragging on Wall Street bulls. | Source: Yahoo Finance

Crude oil’s 7.3% jump helped support risk assets by giving investors one less thing to worry about. As WTI futures approach the $30 handle, the mood is improving – even if the U.S. rig count continues to collapse.

Adding to oil’s tentatively bullish outlook, China is showing more signs of economic activity. This was evidenced by better-than-expected industrial production data that was released overnight.

Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG, warned that investors should take these statistics with a pinch of salt.

Mahony said in a comment shared with CCN.com:

One area of optimism came from the Chinese industrial production figure, which rose back into positive territory to signal a potential pick-up in business activity.

However, with global demand on the wane, there will continue to be questions over Chinese growth as a result of the worldwide lockdown.

Then there’s the renewed threat of the U.S.-China trade war, which is keeping the Dow on edge.

But there’s a sense Trump may be forced to back down from his…

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