Producer price inflation data, consumer sentiment and industrial production are on tap for Friday, but traders may be diverted more by other factors, such as whether oil continues to slide.
The drama Thursday centered in the energy markets where West Texas Intermediate crude futures settled at a six-year low of $42.23 a barrel, after falling below $42, taking out the 2015 lows. Stocks put aside fears about Chinese growth and closed little changed, after two days of volatile trading following China's devaluation of its currency.
The drop in oil prices was a drag on the stock market, with the S&P energy sector tumbling 1.4 percent. But the Dow closed slightly higher, up 5, at 17,408, while the S&P 500 was down 2 at 2,083.