Futures Turn Up After Good Economic News

Stock index futures pared losses and turned positive after gains in industrial production and capacity utilization, and after news that consumer prices didn't rise as much as expected in March.

Industrial production rose 0.8 percent in March from a 0.1 percent gain in February, while capacity utilization rose to 77.4 percent in March from 76.9 percent in February.

The Consumer Price Index for March rose 0.5 percent, in line with February's gain, while core CPI rose 0.1 percent after gaining 0.2 percent the month before, the Labor Department said.

Core CPI, which was better than expectations for a 0.2 percent rise, shows inflation, not including food and energy prices, remains subdued.

Meanwhile, the Empire State Index of manufacturing rose to 21.70 in April from 17.50 in March.

Futures had been lower before the economic news was released in the wake of disappointing earnings reports.

Bank of America's earnings reported early Friday fell short of analyst expectations as mortgage-related losses took a bigger toll than anticipated. The bank earned 17 cents a share, below Wall Street estimates of 27 cents.

Bank of America's results come two days after rival JPMorgan Chase, the second largest U.S. bank, reported weaker consumer lending and more than $1 billion in added costs for servicing mortgages due, in part, to a settlement with bank regulators over problems in the industry's foreclosure practices.

Google, sank after delivering disappointing quarterly results. Earnings beat expectations, but costs surged by 54 percentthanks to a record hiring process, company wide salary increases of 10 percent and increasing marketing and technology costs.

Investors are concerned Google’s new chief executive Larry Page is chasing revenue too aggressively and could take his eye off the bottom line, Reuters reported.

In the meantime, Citigroup downgraded Google to "hold" and cut the price target on the stock to $650 from $750. RBC Capital Markets also cut its price target on the firm to $680 from $700.

Inflation Consumer price inflation rose 5.4 percent in the year to March, China said on Friday, which is the fastest rate since July 2008. The market had expected Chinese inflation rose 5.2 percent.

Oil prices traded flat to slightly lowerFriday. London Brent crude traded just below $122 a barrel, while U.S. light crude fell below $108.

Meanwhile, gold soaredabove $1,478 an ounce amid news of growing inflation in China, and a weakening dollar .

In Europe, inflationclimbed higher than expected in March to 2.7 percent year-on-year. It is the fourth month in a row that inflation has been above the European Central Bank’s target of 2 percent. European shares were also weaker as peripheral country debt issues resurfaced.

On Tap This Week:

FRIDAY: Industrial production, consumer sentiment, credit card default rates reported; Evans speaks, Hoenig speaks, G24/International Monetary Affairs meeting.

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