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US stocks fluctuate after Labor Department says wholesale inflation jumped in January

US stocks fluctuate after Labor Department says wholesale inflation jumped in January

Stocks wobbled in early trading Tuesday after the government said core wholesale prices shot up more than expected last month, reinforcing the market's worries about rising inflation.
Uncertainty about the retail sector also weighed on stocks. Home Depot Inc. said it expects sales to decline up to 5 percent this year as it contends with a slowing housing market.
Stocks had rallied Monday after ratings agency Standard & Poor's affirmed investment grade "AAA" ratings for bond insurers Ambac Financial Group Inc and MBIA Inc. Market sentiment in recent sessions has been influenced to a large degree by the plight of the insurers who appear undercapitalized and could have trouble paying back bond holders if default levels are too high.
But economic concerns outweighed some of the optimism about the bond insurers Tuesday. The latest wholesale inflation report showed headline producer prices rising by a full 1 percent in January, driven up by higher energy prices and soaring food costs.
The result was a bit below the 1.1 percent advance projected by Thomson/IFR, but core PPI _ which excludes food and energy prices _ rose 0.4 percent, steeper than the predicted 0.3 percent gain. The data was disconcerting because the Federal Reserve is known to closely monitor core-level inflation in setting monetary policy.
In early trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 31.27, or 0.25 percent, to 12,538.95.
Broader stock indicators also declined. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3.72, or 0.27 percent, to 1,368.08, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 2.64, or 0.11 percent, to 2,324.84.
Government bonds rose modestly. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, slipped to 3.90 percent from 3.91 percent late Monday.
The dollar fell against most other major currencies.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 2.63, or 0.37 percent, to 713.09.


Updated : 2021-06-20 23:35 GMT+08:00