Producers of metals and other raw materials rose amid mounting hopes for a rate cut in the coming months.

The personal consumption expenditures price index, the Fed's preferred inflation measure, increased 0.3% last month from December, the Commerce Department said.

That was in line with the expectations of economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, but left the path of inflation, and hence, of central-bank policy, somewhat ambiguous.

The "data didn't come in hotter than expected and is a sigh of relief for bulls, who were worried inflation was going to reaccelerate and cause the Fed to put off rate cuts for a much longer time, or even worse, begin raising rates again," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance.

The SPDR Select Sector Materials exchange-traded fund, which tracks the materials industry group of the S&P 500, is up about 5% for the month of February.

Write to Rob Curran at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-29-24 1724ET