Stocks Bounce After Inflation Data

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NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks bounced higher Wednesday after two weeks of losses wiped out the year’s gains in every major index. Investors shrugged off a higher reading on inflation that almost guaranteed another Federal Reserve interest rate increase.

Stocks have fallen for seven of the last eight sessions because of renewed inflation worries following tough talk on inflation by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Now that a June 29th rate hike is all but a given, the market’s uncertainty over rates has been dispelled, freeing investors to make better informed decisions.

“The rumor was that core inflation numbers would be bad and they were,” said Hugh Johnson, chairman and chief investment officer of Johnson Illington Advisors. “The markets already fully reflected that fact.”

The Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index posted a 0.4 percent increase in May. Core inflation, which excludes energy and food prices, rose by a larger-than-expected 0.3 percent. The latest data brings the Consumer Price Index inflation rate for the year to 2.4 percent. Bernanke and a group of regional Fed governors have said recently that an inflation rate above 2 percent is outside their comfort zone.

In midday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 60.11, up 0.56, to 10,766.25.

Broader stock indicators also moved slightly higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.40, or 0.20 percent, to 1,226.09, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 7.97, or 0.38 percent, to 2,080.44.

Bonds fell, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rising to 5.05 percent from 4.96 percent late Tuesday. The U.S. dollar was down against other major currencies. Gold prices were mixed, but remained under $580 a troy ounce, far below their recent highs of $700.

Crude oil futures rose. A barrel of light crude was quoted at $68.90, up 34 cents, in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Japanese markets rebounded after their biggest drop in two years and European stocks were mixed in afternoon trading. But markets remained shaky elsewhere. Russia’s benchmark index dropped 9.4 percent Wednesday after falling 10 percent in Tuesday’s trading. Pakistan’s benchmark index lost 5.86 percent and Thai stocks fell 3.54 percent

In company news, Boeing Co. rose $4.32 to $81.30 after Singapore Airlines said it will buy 20 Boeing 787-9 aircraft for $4.52 billion, hours after it expressed unhappiness about delays in Airbus’ delivery of its A380 superjumbo.

Bayer AG rose $3.03 to $41.24 following an agreement that could clear the way for Bayer to take over Schering AG. Schering rose $2.94 to $111.95.

Shares of stun-gun maker Taser International Inc. rose 60 cents to $8.07 after Chairman Phillips W. Smith bought $762,000 worth of the company’s stock. The company’s stock has fallen nearly 18 percent since Monday, when Taser announced it filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Bestex Co., a maker of air guns that fire darts to shock humans.

Advancers led decliners by roughly 8 to 7 on the New York Stock Exchange where volume was 991.39 million, down from 1.16 billion Tuesday.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies was up 3.81, or 0.57 percent, to 676.53.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose 0.64 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.23 percent, Germany’s DAX index rose 0.26 percent, and France’s CAC-40 dropped 0.05 percent.


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