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Housing starts, industrial production — What to know in markets Friday

Heidi Chung

The spotlight on Friday will be on the housing market and industrial sector.

The Commerce Department will release December’s housing starts data Friday ahead of the opening bell. Economists polled by Bloomberg expect housing starts rose in December to a seasonally adjusted 1.380 million units, up from 1.365 million in November.

“Lower interest rates and healthy labor markets have supported consumer demand for single-family housing. In addition, December exhibited warmer-than-usual temperatures overall, likely adding some tailwinds to single-family housing construction activity,” Nomura wrote in a note Jan. 10. “Overall, residential construction activity has remained strong in an environment with lower mortgage rates. However, we continue to expect this positive impulse to fade in H1 2020.”

An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at Boeing facilities at the Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, September 16, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

After a spike in November, economists predict industrial production in December was flat. “Industrial production surged higher in November, but this was largely driven by a recovery in auto production after the end of a strike at General Motors,” Credit Suisse said in a note Jan. 9. “We expect some pullback in the winter, beginning with a 40bp contraction in headline growth for December. Manufacturing surveys have diverged but the underlying trend is weak and even the more optimistic indicators are pointing to a sluggish backdrop.”

While Boeing’s production halt likely didn’t affect December’s data, Capital Economics warned that it could lead to a drop in output in January.

Notable earnings announcements scheduled for Friday include Kansas City Southern (KSU), JB Hunt (JBHT), Schlumberger (SLB), Fastenal (FAST) and State Street (STT) before market open.

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.

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