US stocks edge higher as inflation data shows prices continued to surge in September

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US stocks edge higher as inflation data shows prices continued to surge in September
REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
  • US stocks rose modestly on Wednesday after CPI data showed a continued rise in inflation last month.
  • While the latest virus wave began to subside in late September, supply bottlenecks are still an issue.
  • Oil prices slipped while gold rose.

US stocks were higher on Wednesday after inflation continued to rise in September amid continued supply chain bottlenecks.

The Consumer Price Index - a commonly used measure of US inflation - rose 0.4% last month, exceeding the median forecast of a 0.3% gain from economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The print shows price growth unexpectedly picking up from the 0.3% jump seen through August.

While the Delta variant began to subside in late September, supply bottlenecks are still plaguing businesses and consumers.

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Here's where US indexes stood at the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Wednesday:

The prospect of hot inflation alongside stalled economic growth has weighed on markets, and a surge in energy prices fueled concerns that higher inflation may be less transitory than the Federal Reserve is predicting, said Nancy Davis, founder of Quadratic Capital Management and portfolio manager of an exchange-traded fund.

"If the recent pace of elevated inflation continues, that could push the Federal Reserve to start removing accommodation sooner rather than later, which could hurt stocks and other risk assets," she said in a note Wednesday.

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How inflation will affect the economy still recovering from the depths of a pandemic recession remains center stage for many economists and analysts. Fed officials have been hinting that the central bank appears on track to fully taper off assets purchases by the middle of 2022.

"Wednesday's Consumer Price Index coincides with the start of third-quarter earnings season, and investors will be looking to see if inflation is starting to negatively affect corporate profits in a significant way," Davis said.

JPMorgan Chase reported earnings Wednesday. The largest US bank reported third-quarter earnings that beat analyst expectations, driven by a strong performance in its investment banking division.

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In cryptocurrencies, Binance will end the use of the Chinese yuan on its peer-to-peer platform. The company, which is one of the world's largest exchanges, is set to discontinue support for the Chinese currency on December 31 this year, it said in a statement Wednesday.

Oil prices slipped. West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 0.67% to $80.12 per barrel. Brent oil, the international benchmark, turned lower, down 0.74% to $82.80.

Gold rose 0.89% to $1,776.08 per ounce.

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