United States inflation flat in June while retail sales sink

United States inflation flat in June while retail sales sink

"Yellen gave some hope to the dollar bulls with her acknowledgement of the improvements in the economy, but at the end of the day investors are still skeptical of what data is going to be like", said Kathy Lien, managing director at BK Asset Management in NY.

Inflation is expected to remain at its highest level in almost four years, as rising prices on the back of the Brexit-hit pound continued to squeeze British households.

USA crude slipped 0.15 percent to $46.02 a barrel, after rising 1.3 percent on Thursday. It remained below an 18-month high hit earlier this week of 0.583 percent.

"Economic surprises continue to tilt toward the downside in the world's largest economy, suggesting that the Federal Reserve's hawkish stance earlier in the year could once again prove ill-founded", Karl Schamotta, director of global product and market strategy at Cambridge Global Payments in Toronto, said in a note. MSCI's gauge of equity performance in 47 countries gained 0.38 per cent, and its pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rebounded to rise 0.07 per cent. That's down sharply from February, when prices rose 2.7 percent from a year earlier.

After surprisingly weak CPI inflation data, the dollar index sank to a new low of 95.186 Friday, the lowest since September of a year ago. Rental costs rose, with owners' equivalent rent of primary residence increasing 0.3 per cent after advancing 0.2 per cent in May.

The falling price of gasoline also helped hold down U.S. retail sales, which contracted for the second straight month in June, while manufacturing output rose slightly but slowed in the second quarter, according to two separate reports on Friday.

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Before this week, investors had been selling bonds, driven largely by anxiety that an improving global economy may allow major central banks outside of the U.S.to scale back on stimulus efforts that have helped lift asset prices since the financial crisis.

The Canadian dollar remained near its strongest in over a year after the Bank of Canada this week raised interest rates for the first time since 2010, with further tightening expected this year. The Dow futures dropped 5 points or 0.02%, the S&P 500 futures were unchanged, while the Nasdaq 100 futures rose 13 points, or 0.23%.

After keeping its key policy rate at a record low near zero for seven years, the central bank began raising rates gradually with one quarter-point hike in December 2015, another one last December and two more in March and June of this year. It is poised for a 4 percent gain this week.

Spot gold gained 0.96 pct at $1,228.61 per ounce by 3:01 p.m. EDT (1901 GMT) after hitting $1,232.76. It's set for a 3.2 percent gain for the week.

Oil rose 1 percent on Friday, boosted by lower US stockpiles, a slight slowdown in USA crude production and signs of increased Chinese demand, but trading was volatile as global supply remained strong.

In oil markets, benchmark Brent and United States WTI futures contracts were on track for weekly gains.

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