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US stocks rally despite latest surge in consumer prices – Daily Times

Wall Street stocks capped a strong week with a fresh record on Friday despite the latest spike in US consumer prices that has bolstered expectations the Federal Reserve will accelerate plans to lift interest rates. Following a down day in leading Asian and European equity markets, the broad-based S&P 500 piled on 0.9 percent to finish at 4,712.02, eclipsing a record from last month and scoring a weekly gain of nearly four percent.

The gains came even as the Labor Department reported that the consumer price index jumped 6.8 percent last month compared to November of last year, its biggest gain since June 1982, as prices for gasoline, used cars, food, rent and other items continued to climb.

Markets took the data in stride in spite of the eye-popping figure, in part because inflation was largely expected. “As long as things happen inside of consensus, the market’s had enough time to digest this,” said Art Hogan, chief strategist at National Securities. And he noted that investors also are relieved that the latest Covid-19 strain appears less virulent than earlier variants.

But Oanda’s Edward Moya warned that “consumer sentiment still looks vulnerable and will likely struggle if these widespread price increases continue.” The CPI data came after Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell had already signaled plans to accelerate the tapering of stimulus payments. Many analysts expect the central bank to hike interest rates at least twice in 2022. Powell will update the markets next week following a two-day policy meeting.

In Europe, official data showed Britain’s economic recovery slowed in October even before the appearance of the Omicron variant that has pushed the UK government to restore restrictions.

UK gross domestic product increased 0.1 percent in October compared with an output of 0.6 percent the previous month. Analysts said the growth slowdown made it less likely that the Bank of England would next week raise its main interest rate.

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Source: Daily Times

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