Stocks Hit as Inflation Swells

By MarketsFOXBusiness

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U.S. equity markets slid solidly into the red on Wednesday as traders eyed

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Today's Markets

As of 3:17 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 94 points, or 0.57%, to 16621, the S&P 500 dipped 8.8 points, or 0.47%, to 1889 and the Nasdaq Composite slumped 26 points, or 0.63%, to 4104.

The broad S&P 500 topped the 1900 mark for the first time ever on Tuesday, although it failed to hold that level and closed just narrowly to the upside in light volume.

"...I am in watch and wait mode more than anything else," said Michael Block, chief strategist at Rhino Trading Partners, in an email,citing the inconclusive action of late.

Inflation, or the lack thereof, has taken center stage lately since the Federal Reserve has explicitly said it is looking to boost the year-over-year rate to about 2%. The Labor Department's latest reading on producer prices actually showed a significant pickup in prices.

Producer prices rose 0.6% in April, the largest increase since September 2012, topping estimates of a 0.2% rise. Excluding the food and energy components, prices rose 0.5%, also exceeding expectations for a 0.2% increase. From the same period the year prior, producer prices saw an increase of 2.1%, while the core gauge was up 1.9%.

In corporate news, networking giant Cisco (NASADQ:CSCO) is set to post its quarterly results after the closing bell. Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD) is considering the sale of all or part of its stake in Sears Canada.

Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures rose 30 cents, or 0.29%, to $102 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline gained 0.41% to $2.942 a gallon. Gold advanced $9.90, or 0.76%, to $1,305 a troy ounce.

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