Thanks to two pieces of unexpectedly good news today, the markets erased early losses, the Dow climbing 44.06 to 13,517.96 after dipping to almost 13,350 this morning. Retail sales in November increased 1.2%, twice what watchers had estimated. And wholesale prices had their biggest one-month jump since 1973, a 3.2% rise nearly doubling estimates, the Journal reports. Both numbers suggested economic strength.
The Nasdaq slipped 2.65 points to 2,668.49, while the S&P tacked on 1.82 to close at 1,488.41. But the good consumer numbers also weaken the case for future rate cuts, investors fear. Inflation was the new concern, and Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch all had bad days as a result. Market watchers meanwhile continued to debate yesterday’s Fed cash injection plans.