NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Stocks inched up early Tuesday, as mild readings on retail sales and consumer prices gave some investors reason to believe inflation is contained and the Federal Reserve's interest-rate hiking campaign can end soon.
The Dow Jones industrial average (up 3.07 to 10,525.63, Charts), the Standard & Poor's 500 (down 0.49 to 1,200.33, Charts) index and the Nasdaq composite (down 1.06 to 2,067.90, Charts) all gained a few points in the early going.
The May Producer Price Index (PPI) fell 0.6 percent, after climbing 0.6 percent in April, due to a decline in oil prices during the month. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com thought PPI would decline 0.2 percent in the month.
The so-called "core" PPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, increased 0.1 percent in May after rising 0.3 percent in April. Economists thought the core would be up 0.2 percent.
A separate report showed that May retail sales slipped 0.5 percent last month, after growing an upwardly revised 1.5 percent in April. Economists expected sales to retreat 0.2 percent.
Sales excluding the volatile auto component pulled back 0.2 percent, versus forecasts for a gain of 0.2 percent. Sales ex-autos were higher by an upwardly revised 1.4 percent in April.
Among stock movers, Altria (unchanged at $68.32, Research) lost 1.5 percent, dragging down the Dow, amid a setback on the appeal of a $10.1 billion verdict against the company's Philip Morris unit regarding "light" cigarettes. The case was not on the court's newly announced schedule for the week, increasing the likelihood it might not be heard until the fall, Reuters reported.
U.S. light crude for July delivery eased 25 cents to $55.37 a barrel in electronic trading.
Treasury prices reversed earlier gains, with the yield on the 10-year note increasing to 4.10 percent from 4.09 percent late Monday.
In currency trading, the dollar gained versus the euro and weakened versus the yen.
COMEX gold fell $1.50 to $429.60 an ounce.
In global trade, Asian-Pacific markets ended mixed, and European shares were mostly lower at midday.