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Inflation run
Stock futures point to flat to higher open after consumer prices jump despite falling oil prices.
November 16, 2005: 8:45 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Stocks futures turned slightly higher Wednesday morning after an unexpected rise in consumer prices.

At 8:30 a.m. ET, U.S. stock futures were mixed, although a comparison to fair value indicated a flat to slightly higher opening for stocks.

Consumer prices unexpectedly rose 0.2 percent in October despite a dip in energy prices as the cost of housing notched the largest increase in nearly five years, according to a government report.

Excluding food and energy costs, prices increased 0.2 percent, the Labor Department said.

Economists surveyed by had forecast that the overall reading on retail prices will come in unchanged for October following a 1.2 percent jump in September due to soaring energy costs. But the closely watched core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, was seen rising 0.2 percent after a 0.1 percent increase in September.

On Tuesday, the overall Producer Price Index, which measures prices at the wholesale level, came in well above forecasts, while the core PPI showed an unexpected fall in prices outside of food and energy.

Oil prices were slightly lower and below the $57 benchmark in early trading Wednesday, ahead of the inventory report that is expected to show increased supplies in the face of continued unseasonably warm weather in the Northeast.

The December light crude futures contract for NYMEX lost 16 cents to $56.82 a barrel in electronic trading, while the January contract for Brent crude fell 21 cents to $54.97.

Major markets in Asia closed mostly higher Tuesday as Japan's Nikkei closed at its highest level since May 2001 and Seoul's Kospi hit a record high. But major European markets were lower in early trading.

Treasury prices rose, lowering the yield on the 10-year note to 4.53 percent from 4.55 percent late Tuesday. The dollar gained ground against on the euro and the yen.

In corporate news, the Wall Street Journal reported that Yahoo! (Research), Time Warner's (Research) America Online and Microsoft's (Research) MSN, along with other leading Web sites, are selling out ad space far in advance, allowing them to win big rate increases going forward. CNN/Money is also a unit of Time Warner.

The New York Times reported that investment bank Morgan Stanley (Research) is preparing to fire as many as 22 managing directors in the coming days in a cost-cutting move.

For a more detailed look at the markets before the open, click here.  Top of page

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