US consumer prices rose 0.2 percent in February

The rising cost of gasoline helped push up consumer prices in February. File/AP

Stock indexes end day mostly higher

NEW YORK — Technology and health care companies led U.S. stock indexes mostly higher Tuesday, building on the market's solid gains from a day earlier.

Boeing weighed down the Dow Jones Industrial Average for a second day as shares in the aircraft maker fell amid safety concerns following another deadly crash involving its most popular plane. The company led a slide in industrial sector stocks.

The latest gains extend a rebound in stocks this week after the market ended last week with its worst week since December.

"It just goes to show that investors are taking advantage of the pullback we had last week," said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA. "What's notable in the last couple of days is the move you're seeing in the Nasdaq. You're starting to see that return to growth in the market right now."

Major European stock indexes finished mostly higher before Britain's Parliament voted to reject a deal for the U.K. to exit from the European Union. The move plunges the Brexit process into chaos just 17 days before Britain is due to leave the bloc.

Traders appeared to mostly shrug off the developments in Britain, though U.S. indexes lost some of their gains toward the end of the day as the Brexit vote was being held.

Consumer prices rose 0.2% in Feb.

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer prices rose 0.2 percent in February, pushed up slightly by higher gasoline and housing costs even as the prices for autos and clothing slumped.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the consumer price index rose a modest 1.5 percent last month from a year ago.

Inflation has been muted despite the solid job market, causing average hourly earnings — after being adjusted for consumer prices — to climb 1.9 percent in the past year. This marks the strongest inflation-adjusted wage growth since November 2015, an increase that would likely help consumer spending and economic growth.

The low level of inflation also gives the Federal Reserve more flexibility in holding off on further increases to a key short-term interest rate, enabling the U.S. central bank to provide support for economic growth.

Some economists expect inflation to pick up as the benefits of higher wages flow through the economy.

"Although inflation has slowed in recent months, it should move gradually higher in the spring and summer," said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services. "Higher energy prices will push up overall inflation, and rising wages will lead businesses to raise prices in an effort to maintain profit margins."

Dick's halts rifle sales at 125 stores

CORAOPOLIS, Pa. — Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. said Tuesday that it will stop selling hunting rifles and ammunition at 125 of its stores, replacing the gear with merchandise it believes will sell better at those locations.

CEO Edward Stack said the move comes after the retailer replaced hunting merchandise in 10 of its stores in last year's third quarter. Those stores posted strong sales and profit margin numbers in the fourth quarter, he said.

As of early February, the company operated 729 Dick's Sporting Goods stores across the U.S.

Dick's made headlines in 2018 when, after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, it banned the sale of assault-style rifles and the sale of all guns to anyone under 21.

The hunting-merchandise announcement came after the reported a dip in fourth-quarter sales and a soft profit forecast that sent Dick's stock tumbling more than 10 percent.

Lumber Liquidators to settle charges

WASHINGTON — Lumber Liquidators will pay $33 million to settle fraud charges by federal authorities who accused the company of falsely saying its Chinese-made laminate flooring met formaldehyde emissions standards.

The company, based in Toano, Va., is one of the biggest retailers of flooring products in the U.S. Its settlements of criminal and civil fraud charges, related to statements it made in 2015, were announced Tuesday by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Under an agreement, the Justice Department will defer prosecution of Lumber Liquidators and dismiss the charges after three years on condition the company takes remedial actions.

CEO Dennis Knowles said the company has made sweeping changes "and will continue to take steps with the new executive team to better Lumber Liquidators."

Infiniti pulling out of west Europe

LONDON — Infiniti Motor Co., the luxury division of Japanese automaker Nissan, says it's withdrawing from Western Europe — offering another blow to carmakers in the U.K. bracing for Britain's departure from the European Union.

The company said Tuesday that as part of its restructuring plan, it will cease making two models, the Q30 and QX30, by mid-2019 at the manufacturing plant in Sunderland, in northern England.

Nissan canceled plans in February to build a new diesel-powered X-Trail sports utility vehicle in Sunderland. That reversed a decision announced two years ago after Prime Minister Theresa May's government offered some 60 million pounds in incentives.

Carmakers are being forced to weigh uncertainty about possible tariffs and border checks at a time when the industry faces a wholesale overhaul amid changing consumer habits.

Wire reports