Not all is gloomy in the economy. Fresh data released Friday showed consumer spending and economic growth outpacing expectations in January and the tail-end of 2015.
Newly revised figures from the Commerce Department showed the gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of 2015 grew at an annualized pace of 1 percent, an improvement over a preliminary government estimate of 0.7 percent. The revised figures reflected private inventory investments that fell less than previously expected.
Consumer spending in January also exceeded economists’ expectations, with personal consumption expenditures rising 0.5 percent. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected a bump of just 0.3 percent.
Personal incomes also climbed 0.5 percent, exceeding expectations. The annual gain for core inflation, excluding the volatile food and energy categories, rose to 1.7 percent, the highest core PCE measure since February 2013.
The uptick in inflation made investors slightly more confident the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates in 2016. Earlier in the week, futures data compiled by the CME Group implied a one-in-four chance the Fed might raise interest rates once in 2016. Those odds rose to 48 percent Friday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) opened up 90 points, or 0.5 percent, on the GDP data, rising to 16,788 before gyrating in subsequent trading. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (INDEXSP:.INX) opened 9 points, or 0.5 percent, higher, to 1,961.
The week has seen markets continue the volatility that began the year, but stocks have moved steadily upward. The S&P 500 opened significantly lower Thursday, but by the end of the day stocks had repaired their losses.
European stocks Friday followed the U.S. higher. Frankfurt’s DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) of German stocks added 2.1 percent while the STOXX Europe-wide index picked up 1.6 percent.
At 9:25 a.m. oil prices had gained, with contracts for April delivery of West Texas Intermediate crude up $1.46, or 4.4 percent, to $34.53. The global benchmark Brent crude gained $1.52, or 4.3 percent, to $36.81.