Wall Street dips as caution sets in ahead of inflation data

AMP's Oliver Sees 4 to 5 Fed Rate Hikes in 2018

By 6:49 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 139 points, S&P 500 e-minis were up 12.25 points and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 33.25 points. The prices of gold, silver and copper posted strong gains. All three fueled the S&P 500 more than any other shares, leaving the index up 1.34 percent for the session.

Consumer prices in the USA increased by more than anticipated in the month of January, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Wednesday.

In Toronto, Encana Corp declined 2 per cent to C$13.40, while Imperial Oil fell 2.7 per cent to C$34.40. The largest decliner was Crew Energy (CR.TO), down 3.1 per cent.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC surged 1.86 percent to 7,143.62.

On the currency front, the USA dollar is trading at 107.18 yen compared to the 107.82 yen it fetched at the close of NY trading on Tuesday. Volume on the TSX index was 219.33 million shares.

Wall Street was set to open higher on Thursday, reclaiming further ground ceded during last week's sell-off, as investors brushed aside inflation data and preferred stocks over bonds for the fifth day in a row.

Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors rose, with financials rising 2.32 per cent and information technology up 1.95 per cent.

"The history of market corrections during times of strong economic data suggests that this correction will more likely be short and shallow than long and protracted", they wrote in a research note published late Sunday. Recent swings in financial markets were touched off by worries that rising inflation could prompt the Federal Reserve to accelerate increases in interest rates.

Revised data showed that retail sales were unchanged in December compared to the previously reported 0.4 percent increase.

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Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, a voting member in the central bank's rate-setting committee this year, said the recent stock market sell-off and jump in volatility will not damage the economy's overall strong prospects. With the jump, the index reached a record closing high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 120 points, or 0.4%, to 24,535.

Twenty-First Century Fox picked up 66 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $36.40 after The Wall Street Journal reported that cable and internet provider Comcast is still interested in buying Fox's entertainment divisions and could make another offer.

The CBOE Volatility index, known as Wall Street's fear gauge, whose impact on funds using computer-driven trading strategies is also seen as a contributing factor to the selloff, eased to a week low of 22.81, after shooting above 50 points in the peak of last week's falls.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners, added 2.1 per cent. Heating oil rose 5 cents to $1.88 a gallon.

After seeing initial weakness, stocks turned higher over the course of the trading session on Tuesday.

More than three-fifths of the companies on the S&P 500 have reported earnings, with almost 78 per cent of them topping profit expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.31-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.48-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

About 7.8 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, compared with the 8.4 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.

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