The week's first big helping of economic data was a wash Tuesday, with the producer price index showing less inflation pressure than feared despite a greater-than-expected rise in its core components. A report on retail sales was similarly mixed.
According to the Labor Department, wholesale prices rose 0.2% in May, compared with economists' consensus estimate for a gain of 0.4%. Excluding food and energy prices, the so-called core PPI rose 0.3% in May; economists were predicting 0.2%. The rise in the core number was the biggest since February.
In April, the PPI was up 0.9% and the core PPI rose 0.1%.
Compared with a year ago, prices paid to producers of goods and services rose 4.5%, reflecting surging costs for energy. The core PPI rose 1.5% from a year ago.
Stock futures had little reaction to the numbers although they continued to hold a downside bias, with the
indicating about 5 points below fair value. Bonds were also steady, with the yield on the 10-year note holding at 4.96%.
On Wednesday, the Labor Department will release its consumer price index for May. The CPI is generally viewed as the more significant of the two main price gauges in evaluating inflation in the economy.
In a separate report Tuesday, the Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.1% in May, one-tenth of a percentage point above forecasts but still the slowest rate since February. Excluding auto sales, retail sales rose 0.5% last month, matching estimates.