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US Consumer Prices Decline

U.S. consumer prices declined slightly in March — two-tenths of one percent — as the cost of gasoline fell.

Tuesday's report from the Labor Department also says over the past 12 months prices rose just 1.5 percent.

That is likely to reduce concerns that efforts to stimulate the U.S. economy with low interest rates and large bond purchases might overshoot and spark inflation.

A separate government report showed the pace of home building rose in March. If builders continued at the same pace for a full year, more than one million homes and apartments would go up. It would be the first time for builders to reach that level since 2008.

Investors and others watch U.S. housing closely because severe problems in the housing market helped spark the global financial crisis.
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