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U.S. producer prices rose 0.1% in January but lower energy prices and a strong dollar keep inflation in check. In the 12 months through January, the PPI decreased 0.2%. In January, energy prices fell 5.0%. Wholesale food prices rose 1.0%. (Labor Department)

U.S. housing starts fell 3.8% in January to an annual pace of 1.1 million units.   Confidence among homebuilders fell in February amid concerns over "the high cost and lack of availability of lots and labor."

In January, single-family housing starts fell 3.9% to a 731,000-unit pace. (Commerce Department)

Wal-Mart reported a decline in quarterly earnings and a smaller-than-expected increase in sales at existing stores.  The retailer also said it expected net sales to be flat in its new fiscal year, down from a previous forecast for 3% to 4% growth. Wal-Mart said profits fell 7.9% to $4.6 billion in the fourth quarter. Wal-Mart said sales at U.S. stores open at least a year rose 0.6%, positive for the sixth consecutive quarter.

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