Stocks Opened Lower as Inflation Climbed

U.S. stocks opened slightly lower on Tuesday as a rise in inflation was viewed as supporting the Federal Reserve’s case for hiking interest rates later this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately lost 63.97 points, or 0.36%, to 17,646.74. The S&P 500 was down 6.07 points, or 0.29%, to 2,060.59. The Nasdaq Composite was down 9.52 points, or 0.20%, to 4,765.94.

The cost of living in the U.S. climbed in April by the most in three years an indication that inflation may be picking up toward the Federal Reserve’s goal. Consumer prices increased 0.4 percent, the biggest gain since February 2013, following a 0.1 percent advance in March, a Labor Department report showed on Tuesday.

U.S. industrial production in April posted the biggest increase since November 2014 as utility output surged, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday. Industrial output — which includes factories, mines and utilities — rose 0.7 percent from March. It had dropped the previous two months.

U.S. housing starts rose more than expected in April as builders ramped up the construction of single and multi-family homes, supporting views that the economy was regaining steam early in the second quarter. Groundbreaking increased 6.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.17 million units, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday.

Oil traded at around $49 a barrel on Tuesday within sight of a six-month high, supported by supply outages in Nigeria, Canada and other producers that are eroding a persistent glut. Brent crude traded at a six-month high of $49.47 intra-day and at 1018 GMT was down 7 cents at $48.90. U.S. crude was up 14 cents at $47.86, having earlier reached $48.42, the highest since October.

Home Depot (HD) on Tuesday raised its yearly outlook and posted better-than-anticipated same-store sales figures in a quarter. The home improvement retailer said first-quarter net profit were $1.8 billion, or $1.44 share, compared with $1.58 billion, or $1.21 a share, a year ago.

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