The Labor Department said a steep fall in gas prices pushed down a measure of consumer prices last month. The consumer price index edged down 0.3 percent in November from October, as gas prices sank 7.4 percent, the biggest drop in nearly four years. Consumer prices have risen 1.8 percent over the past year.
The report helped nudge up prices for U.S. government debt, pushing yields down. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 1.70 percent from 1.73 percent late Thursday. When inflation is weak, it suggests that interest rates are unlikely to jump, and bond prices unlikely to drop, anytime soon.
Asian markets rose after HSBC said manufacturing in China is picking up. Its index for manufacturing December rose to 50.9, a slight increase from the previous month. Anything above 50 is a sign of growth.
Among other companies in the news:
Adobe jumped 6 percent after the maker of Photoshop editing software and other applications reported results that beat analysts' expectations. More subscribers for its online Creative Cloud service helped drive revenue and earnings higher. Adobe's stock gained $2.03 to $37.56.
Best Buy sank 15 percent, losing $2.07 to $12.05. The struggling electronics retailer and one of its founders, Richard Schulze, agreed to give Schulze more time to assemble a bid for the company. That erased nearly all of the gain the stock made Thursday following a report that Schulze would make a bid by the end of the week.
Silver Bay Realty Trust dipped 26 cents to $18.24 in its first day of trading. Silver Bay raised $245.1 million in its initial public offering Thursday. It plans on using the money to buy thousands of single-family homes and rent them out, as the U.S. housing market slowly heals.