US stocks were mostly flat with slight fluctuations in tight lock step with currency variations as investors turned their focus on the latest news on consumer prices and the value of the dollar against major currencies and its implications on corporate earnings.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite outperformed other major indexes boosted by a 2% rise by Google to add 13.08 points or 0.26% to 5024.22 as of 10.41 Am in New York. The Index is now within 0.3% of its record close set in 2000.
The S&P 500 index edged up 0.35 points or 0.02% to 2104.77 as the dollar fluctuated between gains and losses and was most recently 1%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 6.35 points or 0.04% to 18,122.58 points.
Data by the Labor Department before the bell Tuesday indicated that US Consumer Prices rose for the first time since October last year by 0.2%. This is the biggest gain since June 2014 with core prices excluding energy and volatile prices inched up 0.2%.
This gain was in line with forecasts made by analysts polled by the Wall Street Journal who had predicted a 0.2% gain in overall prices and a 0.1% gain in core prices.
Data from the ministry of commerce also released before the start of trading showed that February new home sales were up 7% to 539,000- the highest in more than 7 years.
The data, though indicating that the economy remained bullish, failed to temper expectations by traders of a sooner than expected monetary-tightening policy from the Federal Reserve.
“The data is good but not that good to change the impression (that) we’ll see a slow lift in rates from the Fed. After the sharp move in the dollar, you won’t see the data moving it unless it is extremely better,” Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York, told Reuters.
“Investors believe the U.S. economy is the strongest in the developed world, but also that equities are fairly priced.”
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