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U.S. Stocks May See Initial Strength As Consumer Prices Rise Less Than Expected

Stocks are likely to move to the upside in early trading on Wednesday, extending the advance seen over the course of the previous session. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by 0.5 percent.

The futures had been indicating a roughly flat open but jumped into positive territory following the release of a highly anticipated Labor Department report showing consumer prices in the U.S. rose by slightly less than expected in the month of April.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index increased by 0.3 percent in April after rising by 0.4 percent in March. Economists had expected consumer prices to climb by another 0.4 percent.

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Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices still rose by 0.3 percent in April after climbing by 0.4 percent in March. The increase in core prices matched economist estimates.

The report also said the annual rate of consumer price growth slowed to 3.4 percent in April from 3.5 percent in March, in line with expectations.

The annual rate of core consumer price growth decelerated to 3.6 percent in April from 3.8 percent in March. The slowdown also matched estimates.

Following yesterday’s hotter-than-expected producer price inflation data, the report is likely to add to recently renewed optimism about the outlook for interest rates.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department released a separate report showing retail sales in the U.S. unexpectedly came in flat in the month of April.

The Commerce Department said retail sales were virtually unchanged in April after climbing by a downwardly revised 0.6 percent in March.

Economists had expected retail sales to rise by 0.4 percent compared to the 0.7 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales edged up by 0.2 percent in April after jumping by 0.9 percent in March. The uptick matched economist estimates.

Stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Tuesday before eventually ending the day mostly higher. The major averages all moved to the upside, with the Dow bouncing back after snapping an eight-day winning streak on Monday.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq led the way higher, advancing 122.94 points or 0.8 percent to a new record closing high of 16,511.18. The S&P 500 climbed 25.26 points or 0.5 percent to 5,246.68 and the Dow rose 126.60 points or 0.3 percent to 39,558.11.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region once again ended mixed on Wednesday, with markets in Hong Kong and South Korea closed for holidays.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose by 0.4 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid by 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has advanced by 0.8 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.4 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.2 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are inching up $0.05 to $78.07 a barrel after tumbling $1.10 to $78.02 a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $2,382.50, up $22.60 compared to the previous session’s close of $2,359.90. On Tuesday, gold climbed $16.90.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 155.31 yen compared to the 156.42 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0855 compared to yesterday’s $1.0819.

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