The U.S. equity markets took a turn for negative territory on Friday afternoon, in part catalyzed by unexpectedly poor consumer confidence. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index edged up slightly, after hitting a multi-year low on Thursday.
At 12:30 p.m.: DJIA: -0.19%, S&P 500: -0.14%, NASDAQ: -0.19%.
1) The Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that consumer prices reported their greatest increase in nearly four years in February, while showing little indication of a broad pickup in inflation to concern the Federal Reserve. Its Consumer Price Index — a measure of the change in the average price level of a fixed basket of goods and services purchased by consumers — increased 0.7 percent in the month of February, the largest gain since June 2009. This increase showed a marked improvement over January’s figures — which were flat with the previous month — and surpassed the expectations of analysts. Economists polled by Reuters had expected the CPI to advance 0.5 percent… (Read more.)