Wednesday, May 17, 2006
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: Dow Plunges; Nasdaq Turns Negative on Yr.

Stocks plunged Wednesday after a stronger-than-expected rise in consumer prices intensified Wall Street’s fear that interest rates will keep climbing. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 200 points, and the Nasdaq composite index turned negative for the year.

Investors were disappointed by a Labor Department report that its consumer price index swelled 0.6 percent in April, topping forecasts of 0.5 percent. But core CPI — without food and energy — also gained 0.3 percent, ahead of economists’ prediction and adding to worries that soaring oil prices have begun to lift prices elsewhere.

So, what will the Fed do now? That odd sound you hear is probably the sweat breaking out on Ben Bernanke’s brow. (Either that, or the relieved chuckle of Alan Greenspan).

Some good news, however:

Crude futures dipped on data showing U.S. gasoline reserves grew for a third week in a row. A barrel of light crude dropped 88 cents to $68.65 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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