Consumer-price index shows a rise of 0.4%, compared with economist estimates for a 0.3% increase
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U.S. stock benchmarks traded modestly lower on Thursday following data on jobless claims and inflation. The Dow industrials, however, carved out a fresh all-time high in intraday trade, highlighting a record trend for Wall Street equities.
The headline U.S. consumer-price index figure came in at 0.4% in August, beating consensus estimates for a gain of 0.3%, while jobless claims on the month came in at 284,000, versus forecasts for 300,000.
S&P 500 index shed 4 points, or 0.2%, at 2,493.55, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 17 points, or less than 0.1%, at 22,174, briefly touching a fresh intraday record at 22,180.15. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 22 points, or 0.4%, at 6,436.
Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones, said the data did little to change the policy plan for the Federal Reserve. Thursday's inflation reports offered the first read of some of the early impact of Hurricane Harvey, which inundated the Houston area and resulted in the shut down of a trove of crude-oil refineries, driving gasoline prices higher.
"CPI was a bit above expectations but [the market] can't be a surprise that higher gasoline prices and some other expected inputs that inflation has moved toward the Fed's 2% target," Warne said. She added that the report was "not so strong that it's likely to change views that the Fed will continue to be cautious and slow in raising interest rates," he said. Inflation readings have been trending below the Federal Reserve's target and leading some to question whether the central bank would feel comfortable lifting benchmark interest rates once more in 2017.
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On Wednesday, the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq Composite Index all gained between 0.1% and 0.2%, finishing at all-time closing highs for a second straight session (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-set-to-lose-grip-on-all-time-highs-2017-09-13).
The equity market's perpetual run to new heights, with the bull market in its ninth year, has raised concerns about stock valuations.
"The S&P 500 continues to confound skeptical investors, as it adds to its above-average number of new highs," said Sam Stovall, CFRA's chief investment strategist, in a note. The benchmark has scored 33 record closes this year, more than twice the annual average since 1945.
Read:Stock market's 5-month win streak should cheer the bulls (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/stock-markets-5-month-win-streak-should-cheer-the-bulls-2017-09-13)
Economic and political news: The Federal Reserve "would love to see inflation picking up as the stagnating price growth has been an issue for the U.S. central bank," said Konstantinos Anthis, an analyst at ADS Securities, in a note.
"Analysts are expecting a bullish reading from the States today, and this would help the dollar extend its current uptrend."
Check out:MarketWatch's Economic Calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)
Meanwhile, the Bank of England on Thursday kept its key interest rate on hold and made no changes to its quantitative-easing program, but warned that rates could rise faster than traders currently are pricing in. Those comments helped to drive the pound to $1.33 against the U.S. dollar in recent trade.
Don't miss:Inflation data could give traders a surprise (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/inflation-data-could-look-better-than-expected-thursday-analyst-says-2017-09-13)
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-weakens-after-3-day-rise-ahead-of-us-inflation-report-2017-09-14) was 0.2% lower Thursday, despite the better-than-expected economic readings, but it has gained about 1% this week, paring its year-to-date loss to around 9.6%.
On the political front, President Donald Trump and top Democrats appear to be nearing a deal to give legal status to the children of illegal migrants, but also were disputing what they had agreed on so far. Trump tweeted early Thursday that (https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/908272007011282944) no deal had been reached yet, after Democrats late Wednesday said they had an agreement (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/top-democrats-announce-daca-deal-with-trump-that-excludes-wall-funding-2017-09-13) with him to enact protections for "Dreamers" in exchange for increased border security measures that don't include funding for a wall.
Other markets:European stocks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-pull-back-after-signs-chinas-economy-is-faltering-2017-09-14) bounced around, while Asian markets closed with losses (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-slump-after-disappointing-data-on-chinas-growth-2017-09-13) after weaker-than-anticipated data on China's industrial activity (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chinas-industrial-output-grows-less-than-expected-2017-09-14).
Oil futures traded higher, while gold futures were roughly unchanged, paring firmer losses.
Stocks to watch: Shares in Equifax Inc.(EFX) fell 0.1%, putting the credit-reporting company's stock on track to extend a huge selloff sparked by its disclosure last week of a massive data breach.
See:Equifax down 31% since breach disclosure, erasing $5 billion in market cap (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/equifaxs-stock-has-fallen-31-since-breach-disclosure-erasing-5-billion-in-market-cap-2017-09-14)
Lattice Semiconductor Corp.'s stock (LSCC) rose 1.4% after Trump nixed a pending buyout (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cfius-blocks-sale-of-lattice-semiconductor-to-canyon-bridge-fund-2017-09-13-16911918) of the chip company by a group of Chinese investment funds, citing national security concerns.
See:Trump stops China from buying into U.S. chip industry, but what's next? (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-stops-china-from-buying-into-us-chip-industry-but-whats-next-2017-09-13)
After the close
Shares in Oracle Corp.(ORCL) was trading flat as the software giant is due to post quarterly earnings after the close.
Read:Oracle earnings--cloud sales expected to top new software licenses for first time (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oracle-earnings-cloud-sales-expected-to-top-new-software-licenses-for-first-time-2017-09-13)
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 14, 2017 10:08 ET (14:08 GMT)