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NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks dipped early Tuesday as markets weighed the implications of a mixed US inflation report for an upcoming Federal Reserve decision.

The consumer price index rose 3.1 percent from a year ago, said the Department of Labor, down from a 3.2 percent rate in October and closer to the Fed’s long-term target of two percent.

But core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy components, held steady at 4.0 percent, a so-called “sticky” figure that could delay Fed interest rate cuts.

US stocks near flat at start of big economic news week

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down less than 0.1 percent at 36,394.05.

The broad-based S&P 500 slipped 0.2 percent to 4,614.93, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.1 percent at 14,416.52.

The Fed is set to announce its final monetary policy decision of the year on Wednesday.

The report “should give the Fed some pause about cutting rates anytime soon,” said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare.

“And it may very well keep the Fed vocalizing the idea that it could possibly raise rates again if progress in fighting inflation stalls.”

Among individual companies, Hasbro fell 0.5 percent after the toymaker announced it was cutting nearly 1,000 more jobs after a first round of cost-cutting fell short of goals.

Oracle plunged 10.4 percent after the software giant reported revenues that missed analyst expectations.

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