Lumber Overlooked Commodity

Stocks Waver After Inflation Data

Equity markets pared gains, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index finishing higher.

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market diverged slightly on Wednesday, as investors grappled with another higher than expected inflation report for September.

Wall Street’s major averages were mixed at the close, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) finishing flat at 34,387.51.

The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks rose 0.3% to close at 4,363.72. Most sectors finished in positive territory.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) rose 0.7% to close at 14,671.63.

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 18.57 on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historical average. It would eventually settle down 5.4% at 18.78.

In commodities, oil prices were lower on Wednesday, as U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures fell 16 cents, or 0.2%, to $80.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the international futures contract, dipped 21 cents, or 0.3%, to $83.21 a barrel.

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In precious metals, gold prices rose sharply, as the December futures contract gained $33.50, or 1.9%, to $1,792.80 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver futures climbed 56 cents, or 2.5%, trade at $23.08 a troy ounce.

The Final Word: In economic data, U.S. consumer prices rose 0.4% in September, hitting a 5.4% annual clip, the Department of Labor reported. Economists had projected a 0.3% increase and a 5.3% annual rate.