US stocks trade mixed

New York, Feb 20 (IANS) The US stocks traded mixed around midday on Friday, as investors digested the country’s consumer price data amid a plunge in oil prices.

Around noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 27.39 points, or 0.17 percent, to 16,386.04. The S&P 500 edged down 0.15 point, or 0.01 percent, to 1,917.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 21.91 points, or 0.49 percent, to 4,509.44, Xinhua news agency reported.

Oil prices traded sharply lower in early trading on Friday, with both the US oil and Brent crude slumping about 4 percent, after government data showed a rise in the US crude stockpiles.

Oil prices witnessed wild swings recently amid talks of a coordinated plan by producers to freeze output levels.

The US oil has tumbled more than 22 percent over oversupply concerns since the beginning of the year.

On the economic front, the consumer price index (CPI) for all urban consumers was unchanged in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, the US Labour Department reported Friday.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.3 percent in January, which increased 2.2 percent over the past 12 months. This is its highest 12-month change since the period ending June 2012 and exceeds the 1.9 percent average annualised increase over the last 10 years.

“The year-over-year headline CPI reading is in skyrocket mode, jumping from 0.7 percent in December to 1.4 percent in January. This is what the Fed means when they say the effects of energy and the strong dollar are transitory,” said Jay Morelock, an economist at FTN Financial, in a note.

On Thursday, the US stocks drifted lower after wavering in a tight range, as oil prices pared early gains amid worries about a global supply glut.

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