The Labor Department’s report on producer prices took out some of the inflation fears on Thursday and now we have the reading for the Consumer Price Index for the month of March. The headline data showed an increase of 0.3% and the core rate which excludes food and energy rose by only 0.2% for the month. Dow Jones was calling for a gain of 0.2% on both the headline and the core readings.
Today’s data can be best summarized by slowing down the worry wagon about runaway gas prices as summer nears. The year over year reading for the headline data was up 2.7% and the core rate is only up 2.3%. These may be a tad higher than a Fed target but they are certainly not exactly heated.
Energy prices were up 0.9% in March, but that is after a gain of 3.2% in February. Today’s release of inflationary data at the consumer level is unlikely to be a major market mover. Investors will probably be paying closer attention to earnings, particularly since commodity prices have softened a bit since March.
JON C. OGG