Stocks slipped slightly today as the tumultuous second quarter ended in a cloud of uncertainty and contradictory economic reports. The Dow fell 13.66 to close at 13,408.62, up over 1,000 points since April, after an early surge in response to optimistic inflation and construction-spending reports. But oil prices soon topped $70 a barrel, cooling things off.
At the meeting that ended yesterday, the Fed held interest rates steady and expressed optimism about easing inflation—and today's figures, which showed the core rate rising at the lowest annual pace in 3 years, seemed to back that up. Oil prices, reports of terrorist activity in London, and continuing concerns about the subprime crisis then provided a reality check.