Interest Rate Roundup

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rising inflation and more write-downs ...

Some early headlines to ponder over your bagel and coffee ...

* The Consumer Price Index climbed 0.3% last month, while core prices (excluding food and energy) gained 0.2%. Those were in line with what the economists were expecting, but they're definitely not good news. Indeed, the year-over-year inflation rate is now running at 3.5%, the fastest pace since August 2006. Core prices are up 2.2%, outside of the 1% to 2% range that analysts presume the Fed would like to see.

How did the categories break down? Medical costs jumped 0.6% and transportation prices rose 0.4%. Food and beverage costs were up 0.3% ... housing costs were up 0.2% ... and education and communication prices were up 0.4%. Apparel was the lone bright spot, with prices flat between September and October. If you're a real inflation wonk and want even more details, you can read the whole report here.

* There's some "good" news out of the U.K. this morning. Barclays is "only" taking a $2.7 billion hit on its subprime exposure. Market scuttlebutt called for losses of up to $10 billion. More here. Of course, the rumor mill never stops churning. According to the Wall Street Journal, some are speculating that UBS will take a Q4 hit of around $7 billion.

In the early going, stock futures are weakening amid this news while bond prices are up a bit (and interest rates are, consequently, heading lower).


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