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Market Gets a Boost From Inflation Data

Updated from 9:48 a.m. EDT

Stocks in the U.S. were tracking higher early Wednesday amid cooler-than-expected inflationary data and results at Freddie Mac (FRE) that weren't nearly as bad as analysts had predicted.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was climbing 99 points to 12,931, and the S&P 500 was adding 11 points to 1414. The Nasdaq Composite tacked on 23 points to 2518.

The action came after the Labor Department said that, despite a 0.9% jump in food costs -- the biggest advance in nearly two decades -- April consumer prices rose only 0.2% from the prior month. Economists had been looking for a 0.3% uptick. The core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.1%, or half of the expected increase.

Energy prices, the government said, were unchanged from March. Year over year, core consumer inflation was up 2.3%, a hair lower than anticipated, while the overall CPI climbed 3.9% from a year ago.

In less upbeat economic data, RealtyTrac said that foreclosures reached 243,353 in April, which the report noted will add pressure to housing prices that are already dismally low. The report said areas of California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona continue to be "particularly hard-hit."

On the equities side, Freddie Mac said its first-quarter loss narrowed to $151 million, or 66 cents a share, from a $3.97 shortfall in the fourth quarter -- far better than the average Street projection of 93 cents a share, as per Thomson Reuters. The loss is also nearly double than that of last year, and the company plans to raise $5.5 billion "in the near future," but the stock still ramped up 8.9%. Fellow government-sponsored mortgage buyer Fannie Mae (FNM) was ahead by 5.1%.

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