NEW YORK – Stocks fell in morning trading Friday after the government reported that the cost of living rose slightly in April.
Consumer prices rose 0.4 percent in April, the Labor Department said. That was in line with economist's expectations. Most of the increases came in volatile food and energy prices. Stripping those out, prices rose 0.2 percent and stayed below the rate of inflation that the Federal Reserve considers healthy.
The prices that consumers pay have risen 3.2 percent over the last 12 months, the biggest 12-month gain since October 2008. Companies like Kimberly-Clark Corp. and Colgate-Palmolive Co. that sell households products have raised prices because of higher commodity costs that have cut into their profit margins. Costs for raw materials like oil, coffee, and cattle have risen more than 10 percent this year.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 31 points, or 0.2 percent, to 12,665 in morning trading. The S&P 500 fell 4, or 0.3 percent, to 1,345. The Nasdaq composite lost 13, or 0.4 percent, to 2,851. Each market index is up more than 0.3 percent for the week.
Bond prices rose, suggesting that the report did not get investors worried about inflation. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond fell to 3.20 percent from 3.23 late Thursday.
Stocks in countries that use the euro fell after the European Union warned that the debt loads of Greece, Ireland and Portugal will be larger than originally thought. The Euro Stoxx 50, an index of large companies in countries that use the euro, fell 0.5 percent.
No major U.S. companies are scheduled to report results. Nordstrom Inc. lost 2.6 percent after the retailer lowered its full-year earnings forecast late Thursday, due partly to the acquisition of an online shopping site HauteLook.
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