Inflation hits new 40-year high as war pushes oil and commodities higher

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Soaring fuel, food and housing prices have pushed prices up 7.9% since last year, as inflation hit a new 40-year high.

In February alone, the Labor Department’s consumer price index jumped nearly one per cent as Russia’s attack on Ukraine pushed up prices for gasoline and cereals. Gasoline prices climbed 6.6% in February and accounted for nearly a third of the monthly increase for all items, the department said in a statement. Gas hit a national average of $4.32 today, another record high, according to AAA.

Core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, rose 6.4% year-on-year after jumping 6% in January.

The Labor Department also reported in a separate statement that new jobless claims rose by 11,000 to 227,000 last week, in line with economists’ estimates.

Amazon will split the shares 20 for 1

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) announced its first stock split since the dotcom boom. Amazon shares were up nearly 4% this morning after the e-commerce and cloud computing giant announced that its board had approved a 20-for-1 stock split and announced it would extended its share buyback program to $10 billion. This is Amazon’s first stock split since 1999.

While a stock split won’t increase the value of Amazon shares, it will be easier and generally cheaper for retail investors to buy shares, which are worth nearly $3,000 per share. If the stock were to split at its current level, each share would be worth approximately $140 and each shareholder would get an additional 19 shares for each share they own. The split will be effective at the close of business on May 27, following a shareholder vote at the company’s annual meeting on May 25.

Amazon’s announcement follows news last month that Alphabet, Google’s parent company, would split its stock 20-to-1, effective July 15. Apple has split its stock 4 for 1 in 2020.

Another possible benefit of stock splits for Amazon and Alphabet is that they could now be included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Adding higher priced stocks to the Dow is problematic because it is price weighted, which means that the same percentage of movement is greater for a higher priced stock than a lower priced stock. .

Amazon’s stock lags other big tech stocks. It’s down 16% so far this year and 9% over the past year.

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