FOMC Has Little Inflation Worry as May CPI Remains Tame — June Is Another Story

Railroad Oil Tank Cars
Railroad Oil Tank Cars

The U.S. Labor Department already released its reading for wholesale prices via the Producer Price Index for May, and now we have the retail inflation data coming via the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Headline inflation was measured at only 0.1% for May, while the core reading on an ex-food and ex-energy basis was up only by 0.2%.

Bloomberg had the estimates pegged at 0.2% for headline CPI and 0.2% for the core CPI reading. What investors might want to pay attention to here is that May's gain was very small, but it was also on the heels of -0.4% in April and -0.2% in March.

Much of the muted prices will be tied to gas and energy prices, but going forward it has been hard to ignore a recent rise in oil prices so far in June. Still, we have half of a month left before making any broad determination on prices for the current month.

With this being the start of a two-day FOMC meeting, today's CPI should be watched closely. We see little concern that Ben Bernanke will have to spook the markets over asset purchase levels. If inflation is picking up, then the markets might have needed to worry.

Stocks were up on Monday and are looking to be positive so far on Tuesday: S&P 500 futures are up three points and DJIA futures are up about 30 points. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note is back up to 2.19%.

Filed under: Consumer Products