Cheaper gas keeps prices in check
Consumer index falls and ‘inflation is not a problem,’ analyst says.
WASHINGTON — A steep fall in gasoline costs pushed down a measure of U.S. consumer prices last month, keeping inflation mild.
The seasonally adjusted consumer price index dropped 0.3 percent in November from October, the Labor Department said Friday. Gas prices fell 7.4 percent, the biggest drop in nearly four years. That offset a 0.2 percent rise in food prices.
In the past year, consumer prices have risen 1.8 percent, down from October’s 12month increase of 2.2 percent.
On Wall Street, stocks fell Friday, dragged down in part by a slide from Apple Inc., the most valuable company in the nation.
Apple’s stock dropped after the launch of the iPhone 5 in Beijing failed to draw the long lines of customers that showed up for previous versions of the iPhone.
Apple lost $19.90 to close at $509.79.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 5 points to close at 1,413, while the Nasdaq composite sank 20 points to 2,971. Apple is the biggest stock in both indexes. The Dow Jones industrial average, which doesn’t include Apple, fell 35