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U.S. stocks fall on lower oil prices, inflation ticks up

Trader Fred DeMarco, left, and specialist Frank Masiello

Trader Fred DeMarco, left, and specialist Frank Masiello work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, May 21, 2015. Photo Credit: AP / Richard Drew

U.S. stocks slipped in noon trading Friday as energy companies fell along with the price of oil. Investors are weighing the latest batch of corporate earnings results and a report showing a slight increase in inflation last month.

They are looking ahead to a speech later in the day by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 53 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,232 as of 11:58 a.m. Friday on Wall Street. The Standard & Poor's 500 lost three points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,127. The Nasdaq gave up one point to 5,089.

OIL DROP: The price of oil fell 92 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $59.80 a barrel, helping push down the stocks of drillers and other energy-related companies. Marathon Oil fell 1 percent and Hess Corp. lost 2 percent.

RISING PRICES: U.S. consumer prices rose slightly in April for the third straight month, suggesting that an improving economy could be setting the stage for the Federal Reserve to raise the benchmark short-term interest rate from the near-zero level where it has been for more than six years.

Consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent from the previous month. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, climbed 0.3 percent, the biggest gain in 15 months.

THE QUOTE: "We don't think inflation is really a problem here," said Jim McDonald, chief investment strategist at Northern Trust. "But the uptick is a cover for the Fed to do what it wants to do anyway: Get off zero rates." LEAPING DEERE: Deere rose $3.51, or 4 percent, to $92.97 after the equipment maker beat analysts' estimate for its latest quarterly earnings. Strong sales in construction equipment offset a global agricultural slowdown. The company also raised its profit forecast for the year.

SOUP SURGE: Campbell Soup rose 69 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $47.62 after reporting better-than-expected results, too.

CHINA RECORD: The Shanghai Composite Index jumped 2.8 percent to close at 4,657.60, the highest level since 2008. Investors are betting that the economic stimulus that has powered the rally will continue after recent poor indicators, including a disappointing manufacturing index on Thursday.

EUROPE, ASIA: France's CAC 40 fell 0.1 percent and Germany's DAX slipped 0.4 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index added 0.3 percent and South Korea's Kospi rose 1.1 percent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 1.7 percent.

BONDS: The rise in consumer prices sent U.S. bond prices lower. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.21 percent from 2.19 percent late Thursday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 121.46 yen from 121.05 yen. The euro fell to $1.1032 from $1.1110.


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