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Stocks Rise in Cautious Trade as Inflation Hits 40-Year High

The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite all rallied on Wednesday.

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market traded higher on Wednesday, as investors digested the latest figures on inflation.

Wall Street’s major indices were higher at the close, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) rising 38.30 points, or 0.1%, to 36,290.32.

The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks gained 0.3% to settle at 4,726.35. Most sectors finished in positive territory.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) rose 0.2% to close at 15,188.39.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) declined on Wednesday. The so-called “investor fear index” reached an intraday low of 17.36 on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historical average. It would eventually settle down 3.9% at 17.70.

In commodities, oil prices advanced on Wednesday, as U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures gained $1.46, or 1.8%, to $82.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the international futures contract, rose 94 cents, or 1.1%, to $84.66 a barrel.

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In precious metals, gold prices rose, as the February futures contract advanced $8.60, or 0.5%, to $1,827.10 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver futures gained 42 cents, or 1.8%, to trade at $23.23 a troy ounce.

The Final Word: In economic data, the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.5% in December and 7% annually, the Department of Labor reported Wednesday. That was the highest annual increase since 1982, reinforcing concerns about rising cost pressures.