This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS - See his portfolio and get alerts BEFORE every trade. Learn more NOW!

Gas Spike Drives US Consumer Prices Up 0.7 Percent

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ A spike in gas prices drove a measure of U.S. consumer costs up in February by the most in more than three years. But outside the gain in fuel costs, inflation was mostly modest.

The consumer price index increased a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent last month from January, the Labor Department said Friday. It was the biggest monthly rise since June 2009.

Still, three-fourths of the increase in the index reflected a 9.1 percent surge in gas prices. That was also the largest monthly gain since June 2009. Gas prices had fallen in the previous four months. Since last month's increase gas price have started to decline again.

For the 12 months that ended in February, prices increased 2.0 percent. That's in line with the Federal Reserve's inflation target.

Excluding volatile food and energy costs, core inflation rose just 0.2 percent in February. Over the past 12 months, core prices have risen just 2 percent.

"Aside from the spike in gasoline prices, which is already being reversed, it is hard to find any evidence of major price pressures," said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist for Capital Economics.

Low inflation leaves consumers with more money to spend, which benefits the economy. It also allows the Federal Reserve leeway to keep interest rates low to help spur economic growth.

In February, total energy costs rose 5.4 percent. In addition to gasoline, prices for natural gas and home heating oil also showed big gains.

Food prices grew just 0.1 percent. Prices for fruits and vegetables jumped 1.4 percent jump. Meat, poultry and fish prices increased 0.5 percent. Most other food prices declined.

Prices for new cars fell 0.3 percent, the largest monthly decline in three years. Airline fares and clothing prices also fell. Monthly rents and used car prices increased.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG

Markets

DOW 17,856.78 -278.94 -1.54%
S&P 500 2,071.26 -29.78 -1.42%
NASDAQ 4,927.37 -55.4390 -1.11%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs