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Stocks Slip as Investors Balance Economic Data and Fed Comments

Stocks end lower Tuesday as economic data point to the unease consumers feel about rising prices.

Stocks finished lower Tuesday as U.S. home sales declined more than forecast and consumer confidence fell for the first time in six months.

Wall Street had received a boost earlier in Tuesday's session following soothing comments from Federal Reserve officials about rising price pressures and their impact on the recovering U.S. economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 81 points, or 0.24%, to 34,312, the S&P 500 fell 0.21% and the Nasdaq ticked down 0.03%. 

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Sales of new U.S. homes in April declined more than forecast as higher prices crimped demand, according to the Census Bureau. 

Consumer confidence in May fell as consumers grew concerned about higher costs on everything from food to gas to lumber despite the assurances from the Fed.

The recovering economy has brought with it rising price pressures and fears the Federal Reserve could pull back on its extraordinary support.

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But James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, said in an interview with Yahoo Finance that more inflation was "not really a surprise."

He said he expects price pressures from the economic rebound to be transitory rather than lasting. Bullard said he expects inflation to move above 2% this year and into 2022.

Bullard also said it wasn’t time for the Fed to rethink monetary policy.

"I think there will come a time when we can talk more about changing the parameters of monetary policy. I don't think we should do it when we're still in the pandemic," Bullard said.

Yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell Tuesday to 1.559%.

Bitcoin prices lost earlier momentum Tuesday after Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report Chief Executive Elon Musk called upon large Bitcoin miners to be transparent about their energy use.

Bitcoin fell 5.86% to $37,476 on Tuesday, according to CoinDesk.