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Economic Report: U.S. industrial output downshifts in August

The numbers: Industrial production inched down 0.2% in August, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday.

The gain was below Wall Street expectations of a flat reading, according to a survey by The Wall Street Journal.

Capacity utilization also moved slightly lower to 80% in August from 80.2% in the prior month. Economists had forecast a 80.3% rate.

Key details: Strength seen in the July factory data did not carry over into August.

Manufacturing rose a slight 0.1% in August after a 0.6% gain in the prior month. 

Motor vehicles and parts output fell 1.4% after a 3.2% jump in the prior month. Excluding autos, total industrial output fell 0.1%.

Utilities output fell 2.3% in August, the biggest drop since March. Mining output, which includes oil and natural gas, was flat in August after rising for five straight months.

Big picture: Economists didn’t expect the bounce in July to be sustained. Momentum in the factory sector is slowing amid rising inventories and fading domestic demand.

Market reaction: Stocks

opened lower on Thursday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note

rose to 3.44%.

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