U.S. January Import Prices are up 1.5% for the month of January. That number is up from December's revised increase of 1.2%. Inflation worries continue to be in the realm of food and energy where price rates increases are in the mid-teens. Higher energy and food costs particularly pressure consumer spending.
The February Empire State Factory Index also yielded a rise for the month of January. The index came in at 15.4, up from the prior month's 11.92. Analysts were expecting a reading of 15 even. A jump in new orders is a sign of further improvement in the economy.
Also out early this morning, retail sales which rose by 0.3% in January. A dip from February's revised 0.5% rise. The gain in January sales is attributed to higher gasoline prices. Economists on average expected a rise of 0.5% for the first month of 2011.