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The Labor Department said U.S. import prices rose 1% in January. In the last 12 months import prices increased 3.6%. Prices for imported oil increased 4.3%, and imported autos jumped 0.5%. Export prices rose 0.8% in January. They have increased 3.4% on a year-on-year basis.

The University of Michigan U.S. consumer sentiment index rose in February to 99.9, the second-highest level since 2004. The current conditions gauge climbed to 115.1. Year-ahead inflation expectations were unchanged at 2.7%.

The Commerce Department said new home construction increased 9.7% in January. Building permits surged 7.4%, the highest level since June 2007.

Rite Aid is merging with Albertsons in a deal that could generate $83 billion in revenue. Rite Aid shareholders will have the right to exchange 10 shares for 1 Albertsons share, as well as $1.83 in cash, or 1.079 Albertsons share. Albertsons would own about 72% of the combined group. The new company will have 4,900 stores, 4,350 pharmacy counters and 320 clinics across 38 states. (AP)

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.

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