Stocks May Come Under Pressure On Inflation Data

After moving higher over the past few sessions, stocks are likely to move back to the downside in early trading on Wednesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 201 points.

The downward momentum on Wall Street comes following the release of a report from the Labor Department showing a bigger than expected increase in consumer prices in the month of January.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index climbed by 0.5 percent in January after edging up by a revised 0.2 percent in December.

Economists had expected consumer prices to rise by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.1 percent uptick originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices rose by 0.3 percent in January after inching up by 0.2 percent in December. Core prices had been expected to increase by 0.2 percent.

The bigger than expected increase in consumer prices may add to recent concerns that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates faster than previously anticipated.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showing an unexpected decrease in retail sales in January may also weigh on the markets.

The Commerce Department said retail sales fell by 0.3 percent in January compared to economist estimates for a 0.2 percent uptick in sales.

Revised data showed that retail sales were unchanged in December compared to the previously reported 0.4 percent increase.

Excluding a decrease in sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales were unchanged in January after inching up by 0.1 percent in December. Ex-auto sales had been expected to climb by 0.4 percent.

Shortly after the start of trading, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its report on business inventories in the month of December. Business inventories are expected to rise by 0.3 percent.

After seeing initial weakness, stocks turned higher over the course of the trading session on Tuesday. With the turnaround,…

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