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Stocks waffle as inflation jumps, Fed meeting kicks off

WASHINGTON (Foxnews): U.S. equity markets were little changed Tuesday as investors sifted through hot inflation and weak retail sales data and the Federal Reserve kicked off its latest policy meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 21 points, or 0.06%, while the S&P 500 was flat and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.15%. Both the S&P and the Nasdaq finished at all-time highs on Monday.

Economic data out Tuesday morning showed May retail sales fell 1.3% month over month, missing the 0.8% decline that was expected. Additionally, producer prices last month jumped 6.6% annually, the most on record, and 0.8% month over month. Both numbers were hotter than expected. 

Hot inflation data has investors looking ahead to the conclusion of the Fed’s two-day meeting on Wednesday. The central bank is not expected to alter its current policy, but could lay the foundation for tapering its asset purchase program and raising rates. The Fed will also release its updated outlook for inflation, employment and economic growth, among other things.

In stocks, Boeing Co. shares were in focus after the U.S. and the E.U. resolved a 17-year-long dispute over aircraft subsidies. The agreement brings an end to tariffs on $11.5 billion of goods including E.U. wine and U.S. tobacco and spirits.

Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines Co. flights have resumed after the airline early Tuesday issued a ground stop due to “intermittent performance issues” from third-party weather data.

Fully vaccinated visitors to Walt Disney Co.’s U.S. theme parks will not be required to wear masks in most places beginning on Tuesday.

Ford Motor Co. said production and shipments of its Bronco SUV have begun from its Michigan assembly plant. The vehicle was supposed to launch earlier this year, but was delayed due to supply chain issues caused by COVID-19. 

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil climbed 88 cents to $71.76 a barrel and gold rose $1.30 to $1,867.20 an ounce.

Overseas markets mostly gained.

European bourses were higher across the board, with Germany’s DAX 30 advancing 0.48%, France’s CAC 40 rallying 0.46% and Britain’s FTSE 100 edging up 0.36%.

In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite slid 0.92% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.71%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.96%.