The latest round of economic data shows that inflation rose in line with expectations during December. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.2%, with a less-than-expected 0.1% rise at the core.

The CPI, as the report is known, typically moves markets and serves as a key measure of inflation. Industrial production, a key factory-sector gauge, should also factor in today's activity.

The ministers of the world's oil-producing nations this morning cut production. Now, with the latest CPI report the markets will have a good idea of the inflation picture for the next few months. Analysts had already anticipated the 1.5-million barrel cut, so to some extent, the expected constraint on output is already factored into the price of crude oil.

The higher price of oil in the past few months, however, has taken a toll on economic growth. Along with the

Federal Reserve's attempts to tighten credit, the U.S. economy slowed dramatically during the fourth quarter and is moving more slowly than anticipated in the first quarter. This is why the Fed has moved to ratchet down short-term lending rates to help boost sagging demand.

While the overall CPI, the market's broadest measure of retail inflation, is contained, still it is rising, and the core CPI is rising more significantly. Through November, the overall CPI was up 3.4% on a year-over-year basis; the core CPI (not including food and energy) was up 2.6%. That compares with 2.6% and 2.1% in November 1999.

Consumer Price Index for December. Source: Labor Department. Actual. 0.2%. Forecast: +0.2%. Previous: +0.2%. Ex- Food and energy: Actual: 0.1%. Forecast: +0.2%. Previous: +0.3%.

Real Earnings for December. Source: Labor Department. Actual: -0.4%. Forecast: n.a. Previous: +0.2%.

Forecasts are from

Reuters

. Times are Eastern. For a longer-term economic calendar and more, see

TheStreet.com's

Economic Databank.

Other indicators set for release later today include

industrial production report, the

BTM-UBSW Weekly Chain Store Sales Index and

Redbook Retail Average. These last two indicators provide a timely outlook on consumer spending.