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Market Wire: Markets surge as Santa Claus comes to town

US consumer prices climbed by less than expected in November, giving the Federal Reserve some breathing room as it prepares to signal a deceleration in the pace of rate increases. According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning, the headline consumer price index rose 7.1 percent in November from the same period last year, up 0.1 percent on a month-over-month basis. Economists polled by major data providers ahead of the release projected an 7.3 percent annual gain and a 0.3 percent increase relative to October.

A 1.6 percent month-over-month tumble in energy prices – led by a -2.0 percent drop in the gasoline sub-index – helped drag the print below expectations. Food prices decelerated too, rising 0.5 percent month-over-month, after a 0.6 increase in October.

With highly-volatile food and energy components excluded, core prices rose 6.0 percent year-over-year, up 0.2 percent over the prior month. This was below the 0.3 percent increase markets had anticipated.

Used car and truck prices plummeted 2.9 percent from October.

As expected, shelter costs kept rising, increasing another 0.6 percent in the month as rents and owners-equivalent measures moved up – but the increase was smaller than the 0.8-percent pace set in October. Overall non-energy services inflation climbed more slowly, up 0.6 percent month-over-month, with transportation slipping -0.1 percent, and medical care costs down -0.7 percent. Airfares fell -3.0 percent after sliding in the prior month.

Two- and ten-year bond yields dropped after the data hit the wires, triggering a slump in the dollar. Equity futures are climbing as investors pile into a year-end “Santa Claus” rally, high-beta currencies like the Canadian dollar are gaining, and the pound and euro are up. Odds on a 50 basis point hike at tomorrow’s Federal Reserve meeting remain at near-certain levels, but terminal rate expectations are slipping well below the 5 percent mark – as we go to pixels, implied pricing suggests the Fed Funds rate will peak near 4.89 percent next year.

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