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Stocks climb again as investors shake off inflation worries

Traders Robert Charmak, left, and John Panin work

Traders Robert Charmak, left, and John Panin work on the floor of the NYSE, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. Photo Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Investors saw some new hints that inflation is increasing on Wednesday, but they still sent shares of banks, technology firms, and consumer-focused companies climbing.

After a shaky start, stocks rose for the fourth straight day, and banks made some of the largest gains as bond yields reached new four-year highs. The move in yields came after the government said consumer prices climbed in January a slightly faster pace than economists had expected. A different government report showed retail sales were unchanged in December and slipped last month.

“I think the fears of the economy overheating have been a little bit balanced out with the combination of these two numbers,” said Katie Nixon, chief investment officer for Northern Trust Wealth Management. “The bond market is not suggesting that runaway inflation is a deep concern.”

Stocks began plunging Feb. 1 after the Labor Department said wages grew at a rapid clip in January. Investors worried that that meant inflation was rising and that it would push the Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates more quickly.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 35.69 points, or 1.3 percent, to 2,698.63. The Dow Jones industrial average added 253.04 points, or 1 percent, to 24,893.49. The Nasdaq composite climbed 130.10 points, or 1.9 percent, to 7,143.62. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 27.15 points, or 1.8 percent, to 1,522.10.

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