Stock market trades little changed ahead of long weekend
The stock market is trading mixed and little changed in this lackluster session before the three-day weekend. The S&P 500 is down 0.1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite is flat. Investors appear set in wrapping up another solid week without making any definitive moves. Price action has been tight-ranged, most S&P 500 sectors are trading near their flat lines, and today's economic data was without surprises.NVIDIA (NVDA 289.68, +18.92, +7.0%) and Expedia Group (EXPE 122.97, +12.38, +11.2%) are among the few interesting stories today in response to earnings and/or guidance. Home Depot (HD 244.86, +2.50, +1.0%) is outperforming after the stock's price target was raised to $265 at Wells Fargo.From a sector standpoint, the real estate sector (+0.8%) outperforms amid a decline in Treasury yields, while the energy sector (-1.0%) remains weak.The increased demand for bonds may be a precautionary trade ahead of the long weekend given the uncertainty, and skepticism, that remains around the coronavirus. Currently, the benchmark 10-yr yield is down four basis points to 1.58%. As for data, some have attributed the 0.3% decline in industrial production for January as a factor for today's sluggish session. This decline was expected, though, due to a drop in production at Boeing (BA 342.50, -0.32, -0.1%) and warmer-than-normal temperatures that reduced heating demand. On a related note, United Airlines (UAL 80.20, -0.79, -1.0%) removed its Boeing 737 Max from schedule until Sept. 4, according to CNBC.Reviewing today's batch of economic data:Total retail sales increased 0.3% m/m in January, as did retail sales, excluding autos. Both were in-line with expectations. There were slight downward revisions to the December data.The key takeaway from the report is that discretionary spending was modest in January, which will contribute to a sense that Q1 GDP growth was apt to be modest even without any impact from the coronavirus.Import prices were flat month-over-month in January and were up 0.2% excluding fuel. Export prices were up 0.7%, which was also the case excluding agricultural products. On a year-over-year basis, import prices were up 0.3%, and down 0.9% excluding fuel. Export prices were up 0.5%, and up only 0.2% excluding agricultural products.The key takeaway from the report is that there were no inflation alarm bells in it for the Federal Reserve.Industrial production declined 0.3% m/m in January, as expected, following a downwardly revised 0.4% decline (from -0.3%) in December. Total capacity utilization was 76.8%, as expected, following an upwardly revised 77.1% (from 77.0%) in December.The key takeaway from the report is that the weakness in production stemmed largely from a drop in production at Boeing and warmer-than-normal temperatures that reduced heating demand and weighed on the output of utilities.The preliminary University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment for February increased to 100.9 (Briefing.com consensus 99.2) from the final reading of 99.8 for January. That was just shy of the expansion peak of 101.4 seen in March 2018.The key takeaway is that positive consumer attitudes continue to be underpinned by a favorable move of the outlook, which is tied in large part to feeling of job security and income growth prospects.Business inventories increased 0.1% in December, as expected, while the November reading was unrevised at -0.2%.