A pair of benign economic reports helped get financial markets off to a strong start this week, but the impact wore off by Thursday when the Dow Jones industrial average shed 127 points.
The retreat accelerated on Friday as weakness persisted in the bond market. But the tide turned in the last hour of trading, leaving the Dow with just a 6-point loss for the day and a 193-point gain for the week.
In economic reports this week:
The Commerce Department said housing starts were unchanged last month at an annual rate of 1.447 million. In June, starts rose a revised 3.2 percent to a 1.447 million rate. June starts were previously reported as showing a 4.8 percent gain to a 1.452 million rate.
Starts of new housing declined last month in every region except the Northeast, where construction surged 41.4 percent.
The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services unexpectedly narrowed in June - to $8.158 billion, the Commerce Department reported.
Exports of goods and services rose 0.9 percent to a record $78.420 billion during June, while imports fell 0.7 percent to $86.578 billion, the first decline since October, as the volume of oil imports dropped.
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