* U.S. retail sales growth flat in July
* Exxon up as oil prices rise, top boost to S&P, Dow
* Indexes down: Dow 0.07 pct, S&P 0.02 pct, Nasdaq 0.01 pct (Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Aug 12 (Reuters) - Wall Street was little changed on Friday as a rise in oil prices offset the impact of weak economic data.
U.S. retail sales were unexpectedly flat in July as people cut back on buying clothes and other goods, while another report showed that producers index fell 0.4 percent in July, the biggest drop in nearly a year.
Cooling consumer spending and tame inflation suggest the Federal Reserve will probably not raise interest rates anytime soon despite a robust labor market.
However, oil prices rose 1.43 percent as the dollar slipped following the release of weak data.
The S&P 500’s energy index rose 0.73 percent, helped by a 1 percent rise in Exxon Mobil shares. The stock gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500 index and the Dow. Chevron edged up 0.4 percent.
“While I wouldn’t read too much into any one data point, the data underscores that the Fed doesn’t need to be aggressive about raising interest rates,” said David Lefkowitz, senior equity strategist at UBS Wealth Management Americas.
Traders on Friday priced in a 41.6 percent chance of a rate hike in December, down from 45 percent a day earlier, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
At 11:12 a.m. ET (1512 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 12.4 points, or 0.07 percent, at 18,601.12.
The S&P 500 index was down 0.36 points, or 0.02 percent, at 2,185.43.
The Nasdaq Composite was down 0.65 points, or 0.01 percent, at 5,227.75.
Robust economic data and better-than-expected quarterly earnings have pushed the S&P 500 to a series of record highs since July and lifted its valuation above the historical average.
The index is priced at about 17 times forward earnings, compared with a 10-year historical average of 14, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,525 to 1,28. On the Nasdaq, 1,329 issues fell and 1,284 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed 18 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 50 new highs and 23 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)