US stocks tread water, shrugging off N. Korean missile test and dismal US retail sales

Major US equity indices treaded water during the opening hour of trade on Friday as investors digested N. Korea's another missile launch and an unexpected drop in the US retail sales. 

North Korea fired another missile on Friday, which flew over Japan and raised investors concerns over geopolitical risks but did not trigger any sharp market reaction. Stocks struggled for direction but remained on track for a week of solid gains.

On the economic data front, US monthly retail sales unexpectedly fell in August and failed to provide any clues over the Fed's next policy move. Separately, the Empire State Manufacturing Index eased from previous month's three-year high and dropped to 24.4 in September. Meanwhile, industrial production contracted sharply and dropped 0.9% m-o-m during August. 

At the time of writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added around 25-points and rose to 22,230. Meanwhile, the broader S&P 500 Index and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index held near previous day's closing levels, around 2,495 and 6,428, respectively.

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