Stocks finished mixed Friday as investors continued to weigh whether a rise in inflation measures or signs of disinflation in July’s reports were more telling for the path of interest rates.
The gauges closed slightly higher after paring larger gains earlier in Thursday’s session, but Friday’s finishes dealt the Nasdaq and S&P 500 weekly losses, with the Nasdaq down more than 2% the past five days.
Fresh producer price data provided more insight into the inflation story and the prospects for a rate reprieve from the Federal Reserve. Producer prices rose 0.3% in July, the government said, more than expected. But overall levels of inflation remained significantly lower than recent peaks.
While Thursday’s CPI reading showed inflation heated up again for the first time in 13 months, some see convincing signs that price pressures are easing — making it more likely the Federal Reserve won’t hike interest rates at its next meeting.
But in an interview with Yahoo Finance, San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly said the Fed still has “more work to do” to cool price pressures. Those hawkish comments helped spark some doubt about the inflation data, broadly seen as positive.
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