Wall Street bolstered by latest inflation report in spite of rising fuel costs

Wall Street is inching higher today following a modest August increase in inflation across the U.S. that eased worries over the likelihood of another interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve, according to the Associated Press.

Futures for the S&P 500 edged 0.4% higher before the bell today, and futures for the Dow Jones industrials were up 0.3%.

While the inflation data was a touch hotter than estimated, economists and investors don’t expect it to change the Fed’s anticipated track much. The forecast is still for the U.S. central bank to keep interest rates steady at its meeting next week.

That’s discouraging for shoppers paying higher prices, but much of the acceleration was because of higher fuel costs. Underlying inflation trends indicated a continued moderation in price increases, economists said. Inflation has been generally cooling since peaking above 9% last year.

That said, while economists are willing to ignore fuel costs when looking at inflation to find the underlying trends, households and companies don’t get the same luxury.

Stocks of airlines were some of the biggest losers in the S&P 500 on Wednesday after a couple carriers warned of the profit hits they’re taking due to higher costs.

U.S. benchmark crude oil rose again, adding $1.20 to reach $89.172 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That’s the highest level since November of last year. Brent crude, the pricing standard for international trading, was up $1.17 at $93.05 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar slipped to 147.30 Japanese yen from 147.47 yen.