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August 15, 2006

Almost Cowbell: Inflation Drops, Stocks Surge

Relief:

Relieved investors sent stocks soaring Tuesday, with the Dow Jones industrials climbing nearly 100 points, after the Labor Department reported an unexpected drop in core wholesale prices that reaffirmed the Federal Reserve's stance on interest rates and inflation.

Prices at the wholesale level, with food and fuel prices removed, fell 0.3 percent in July, the best showing for core inflation in nine months. Overall, wholesale prices edged up 0.1 percent, well below the 0.5 percent jump in June.

The report lifted the pall that has hung over the markets all summer, brought on as investors fretted about inflation and whether the Federal Reserve's pause in rate hikes last week would be short-lived. With prices falling, however, the Fed under new Chairman Ben Bernanke could engineer the "soft landing" Wall Street was looking for, balancing slower economic growth with inflation pressures and leaving corporate profits relatively intact.

"I think the feeling here in the market is that the Fed may have actually nailed it," said Bill Groenveld, head trader for vFinance Investments. "Of course, now we have to take a close look at earnings and hope they'll still be OK, but right now, overall you have to feel pretty good. I think this market could get exciting."

In midafternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 99.50, or 0.9 percent, to 11,197.37.

No cowbell, I don't think. Not big enough. It's good, but sub-cowbell.


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posted by Ace at 01:36 PM

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