US stocks extend gains after latest inflation data

Wall Street stocks were higher for a third straight session early Friday following US data that showed moderate slowing of inflation.

The annual personal consumption expenditures index (PCE) slowed to 5 percent in February from 5.3 percent a month earlier, with increases recorded in the cost of food, energy and goods, according to US data.

The benchmark is closely watched by the Federal Reserve, which has been battling rising consumer prices for more than a year.

While the decline in headline inflation is positive news for the Fed, it shows pricing pressures remain elevated well above the US central bank’s long-term target of two percent.

About 10 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.5 percent at 33,015.64.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.5 percent to 4,068.92, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.4 percent to 12,065.29.

Stocks have risen the last two days amid greater confidence that the banking system has stabilized after three midsized US banks failed earlier this month.

Since that time, US officials have announced emergency measures and private banks have worked to fortify First Republic Bank, which has been seen as vulnerable. –Agence France-Presse

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