CPI, Wal-mart, Gas Prices

February 19, 2016

Friday – February 19

The January Consumer Price Index (CPI) was unchanged versus the -0.1% expected, while the Core CPI, which strips out food and energy, rose 0.3%, the largest gain since August 2011. Year-over-year, Core CPI rose by 2.2%, the largest rise since June 2012 due to rising rents and higher medical costs. The Consumer Price Index measures changes in prices paid by consumers for a representative basket of goods and services.

Retail giant Wal-Mart reported earnings that beat expectations this week, but total revenue for 2016 declined by nearly 1%, due in part to the strong U.S. dollar. The company said that total revenues fell, but here in the U.S., revenues were up 3.6% from the previous year. To give an idea as to the size of Wal-Mart, it employs 2.2 million people around the globe, has 4,600 U.S. stores, which occupies 700 million square feet. The company had total revenues in of $482.1 billion, with costs and expenses at $458 billion. That’s a nice profit.

Consumers continue to feel relief at the gas pumps as prices have declined on a weekly basis for many months. The drop in oil prices due to oversupply is the big reason behind the decline. The national average price for a regular gallon of gas fell to $1.72, down from $2.27 a year ago. The highest average prices are seen in Hawaii at $2.61, with the lowest being in Oklahoma and Missouri at $1.41.