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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Economic data will be the focus of Friday's session, with economists expecting the consumer price index to show inflation remained contained in July.

The headline CPI number, due for release at 8:30 a.m. EDT, should be flat in July after a 0.7% rise in June. The core CPI figure, which excludes food and energy and is considered the best measure of inflation, should tick 0.1% higher after a 0.2% increase in June.

Economists polled by

Reuters

expect year-over-year CPI to decline by 2%, which would be the lowest level since January 1950. The core rate of inflation should rise 1.6% year over year, the lowest since March 2004.

Elsewhere on the economic front, the

Federal Reserve

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will post industrial production and capacity utilization readings for July at 9:15 a.m. EDT. Economists expect that industrial production rose 0.4% last month after a 0.4% slide in June, while industrial production should have increased to 68.4% from 68% the month before.

At 9:55 a.m. EDT, the University of Michigan will release the preliminary read on consumer sentiment for August. Economists are looking for an increase to a reading of 69 from 66 in July. However, investors should also watch the outlook and present conditions components of the sentiment report. In July, both numbers tailed off from June's strong readings.

Among company news, retailers

Abercrombie & Fitch

(ANF) - Get Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Class A Report

and

J.C. Penney

(JCP) - Get J. C. Penney Company, Inc. Report

will post quarterly earnings results before Friday's opening bell.

Abercrombie should post a loss of 7 cents a share on sales of $647 million, according to Thomson Reuters, while J.C. Penney is expected to show a second-quarter loss of a penny a share on revenue of $3.94 billion.