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Wall Street dips ahead of inflation data

Wall Street dips ahead of inflation data

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 27 points, or 1.8 percent, to 1,522.

The monthly Labor Department report on the price of everything from gas to groceries was closely watched Wednesday, with Wall Street investors suddenly very concerned about inflation.

Many analysts blamed the stock market sell-off in recent weeks on rising bond yields with 10-year Treasury yields US10YT=RR at a four-year high, and soured bets that market volatility.VIX would stay low. Bank of America rose 2.6 percent.

Retailers, apparel makers and other companies that focus on consumers made some of the largest gains, a sign that investors expect shoppers to keep spending and the economy to keep growing. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares except Japan climbed 1.3 percent.

Meanwhile, Japanese shares hit a four-month low as the dollar slid to a 15-month low against the yen and data showed the country's GDP grew at a slower than expected 0.5 percent annual pace in the fourth quarter.

On Wall Street, markets fell at the start of the session but later pushed higher, led by technology and bank stocks.

While the German DAX Index has fallen by 0.8 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.5 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.3 percent. The Dow edged up 39.18 points or 0.2 percent to 24,640.45, the Nasdaq advanced 31.55 points or 0.5 percent to 7,013.51 and the S&P 500 rose 6.94 points or 0.3 percent to 2,662.94.

Netflix climbed $9.97, or 3.9 percent, to $268.24. Those stocks are often compared to bonds due to their big dividend payments and relatively steady prices, but investors find them more appealing when bond yields are falling.




Economists had expected consumer prices to rise by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.1 percent uptick originally reported for the previous month. "The year-over-year rate on the core is still below 2 percent".

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 13 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,651.

Eurozone industrial production for December rose 0.4 percent month-on-month, beating forecasts for 0.2 percent growth. The index remains down about 6 percent from its record high on January 26.

Underpinning confidence among many investors is the belief that the U.S. economy remains strong and that tax cuts enacted this year will spur corporate earnings and lead consumers to spend more.

Locally, ASX SPI 200 futures are higher, indicating the Australian market will bounce at the open.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices rose by 0.3 percent in January after inching up by 0.2 percent in December.

However, the annual pace of inflation remained unchanged and a surprise drop in USA retail sales also tempered investor nerves and saw European markets claw back to close higher. Wall Street surged yesterday as investors shrugged off stronger-than-expected inflation data and snapped up shares of Facebook, Amazon.com and Apple. And even though the Federal Reserve does not take much account of the CPI measure when determining interest rate policy, there is enough nervousness around that a stronger than expected figure could have repercussions for stock markets.

A closely watched gauge of US consumer prices offered fresh evidence that a long run of very low inflation is ending....A month-over-month measure of what households pay for everything except gasoline and food rose a seasonally adjusted 0.349% in January-the strongest one-month increase since March 2005....


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