) -- Production levels at the country's miners, utilities and factories improved for the sixth month in row in December, hinting at a still-slow and steady recovery at the industrial level.
A reading on the nation's industrial production rose by 0.6% last month after posting a similar rise in November. Economists expected as much, as consensus figures provided by Briefing.com forecast a 0.6% jump.
The report attributed much of the growth to recent frigid temperatures, which propelled a 5.9% spike in electric and gas utilities. In November, that segment declined by 2.4%.
Manufacturing production ticked lower by 0.1%, as miners increased output by 0.2%.
The report showed industries also increased capacity at their factories during December, as the report's capacity utilization rate rose to 72% after hitting 71.5% in November. Forecasts had called for a rise to 71.8%.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
opened lower Friday, with the index down 28 points, or 0.3%, at 10,683. The tech-heavy
was adding 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2319. Though a mix of economic reports were released this morning, traders were also keying on earnings news from
--Written by Sung Moss in New York