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Judged by consumer spending, the economy grew more strongly in April without a spurt in prices, according to government reports issued Friday. The Labor Department said wholesale prices held steady last month, halting a four-month rise in that measure of inflation. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 2.9 percent in April, reversing the 2 percent decline of March.
The zero rate of change in wholesale prices may quiet some analysts' concern that the continued strong rebound was reigniting the high inflation of just a few years ago. That concern has contributed to a climb in interest rates to the highest levels since 1982.
With cheaper food and heating oil and stable building-supply costs, the producer price index stabilized at 291.4, the Labor Department said.
A fish shortage, which alone accounted for more than half of the March increase of 0.5 percent in the wholesale index, also faded in April, with prices backing down 3.4 percent.
Over the last 12 months, wholesale prices rose 2.9 percent.