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    The U.S. Treasury is asking primary dealers in the U.S. government bond market about trading activity in money markets at the end of the first quarter, as concerns increase that strong demand for safe haven assets during certain dates can create market dislocations.

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    WASHINGTON-- There's a chasm between the sentiment of consumers and businesses toward the economy. The latest reading from the University of Michigan on consumer sentiment was stronger than forecast, and more than that, points to an increasingly buoyant consumer. The index rose to 95.9, up from 93 in March and the MarketWatch-compiled economist forecast of 93.5.

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    March CPI data show broad-based decline in grocery prices. WASHINGTON-- It seems like rising grocery prices are now, at least temporarily, a thing of the past. Data from the Labor Department released Friday showed a broad-based decline in grocery store prices in March.

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    If anyone deserves a seven-figure sinecure, it's Ben Bernanke.The former Fed Chair put his academic work on the Great Depression to the best possible use when he saved the financial system in 2008, and then went further than any other central banker to try to bring unemployment down. But now he's putting that expertise to the best possible financial use by signing on to advise the $25 billion hedge fund Citadel. Now Bernanke hasn't disclosed the terms of his compensation, but it's safe to say that if hedge funders are willing to pay him $200,000 just to dispense his wisdom over dinner, they'd be willing to pay him a lot more to do so on a regular basis.It's yet another example of the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington. Just to name a few, former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has joined the private equity firm Warburg Pincus, former Fed governor Jeremy Stein has enlisted with the hedge fund BlueMountain Capital Management, and former Office of Management and Budget chief Peter Orszag has jumped on board with Citigroup (C). There's a metronomic quality to it. Anytime a public official leaves office, they write a book, maybe take a fellowship somewhere, and then, after a suitable amount of time has passed, take a job on Wall Street—preferably somewhere that they hadn't regulated to avoid the appearance of impropriety.That's exactly what Bernanke has done, and it's hard to blame him. All he's going to be doing is telling Citadel what he thinks about the economy, and rubbing shoulders with their clients. So it's even more about boosting Citadel's prestige as it is about boosting their bottom line—although, after it came out that one of their traders lost $1 billion betting on bonds, Bernanke might be able to help them with that too.At the same time, though, it's a little disappointing that everyone who goes into public service ends up trading in on that to Wall Street. It's disappointing in the same way it is when elite college grads decide that their true passion is becoming an Excel jockey for a big bank. Disappointing, but understandable. That's because, even though we take it for granted now, it's worth reminding ourselves how disconnected Wall Street is from any kind of normal economic reality. Indeed, it's been a long time since Michael Lewis, fresh off a stint on Salomon Brothers' bond desk, wondered how it was that investment banking could "pay so many people with so little experience so much money." Well, the answer hasn't changed in the last 26 years: because, as he put it, "the money was just there." There's so much of it, in fact, that, as Mike Konczal points out, it explains 60 percent of the increasing share of income going to the top 1 percent. So if you're a 22 year-old with a lot of student loans to pay off, why not go to Wall Street—just for a few years, you tell yourself—and make more in your first year than you could after 20 of being, say, a teacher? Or if you're a policymaker who's made a very good living, but nothing like the dynastic wealth the finance guys you get to know have racked up, why not get a little of that for yourself?Wall Street, psychologically-speaking, is like a never-ending bubble. Just like people felt stupid for staying out of the markets when they saw their neighbors striking tech gold in 1999, these elite college grads and policymakers feel the same for not going to Wall Street like all their friends.Who wants to be in the top 10 percent when everyone you know is in the top 1 percent?




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    Energy prices stabilize but annual inflation still negative. WASHINGTON-- Led by higher gasoline prices, consumer prices rose for the second straight month in March, according to data reported Friday by the Labor Department. U.S. consumer prices rose 0.2% in March, matching the gain in February.

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    WASHINGTON-- The price to buy or rent a home continues to climb even as there's faint price pressure elsewhere. The latest report on consumer prices showed that the year-over-year change in rent stayed at 3.5%. While not in the March CPI report, data from CoreLogic show house prices have grown nearly 6% year-over-year.

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    Consumer sentiment improved in April, according to the University of Michigan gauge released Friday. The index rose to 95.9, up from 93 in March and the MarketWatch-compiled economist forecast of 93.5. Separately, the Conference Board said leading indicators rose 0.2% in March.

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    * Yields rise after CPI data * Selloff erases overnight strength * German debt yields plunge to new lows By Karen Brettell NEW YORK, April 17 - U.S. Treasury yields rose on Friday after data showed that U.S. consumer prices rose for a second straight month in March, erasing an earlier fall when German government debt yields plunged to new lows.

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    A patch of soft economic data has created uncertainty inside the Federal Reserve about when to start raising short- term interest rates, dimming the chances of a move as early as June. Recent reports showed a slowdown in U.S. hiring in March, tepid growth in consumer spending at retail stores, a big drop in industrial output and softer-than-expected home building, reinforcing a view the economy downshifted in the first quarter and didn't have great momentum moving into the second.

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    U.S. consumer prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in March mainly due to higher energy costs, the Labor Department said Friday. Energy prices rose 1.1% on the back of higher gasoline costs, which rose by the highest amount in a year. The core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, also rose 0.2%, driven by another increase in housing expenses and used car prices.

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    Washington - U.S. consumer prices rose for a second straight month in March as the cost of gasoline and shelter increased, signs of some inflation that should keep the Federal Reserve on course to start raising interest rates this year. The Labor Department said on Friday its Consumer Price Index increased 0.2 percent last month after a similar gain in February.

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    With a growing economy, low fuel prices, and people having more disposable income, more consumer and business travel is expected in the coming months. To be sure, airlines can be a risky investment. Lately, some of them have been dogged by safety issues. So what are the best airlines investors should be buying?

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    Three former American Apparel Inc (APP) employees who were among 200 laid off earlier this year are suing the retailer, saying they were not given appropriate legal notice, their attorney said on Thursday. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, is seeking about $1 million in damages, attorney Keith Fink told Reuters.

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    Looking to make it easier to compare hospitals, the federal government has started awarding star ratings to medical centers based on patients' appraisals. Many of the nation's leading hospitals received middling ratings, while comparatively obscure local hospitals and others that specialized in lucrative surgeries frequently received the most stars.

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    Tax revenue from state governments rose for a fourth consecutive year in 2014, climbing by 2.2 percent to $865.8 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's annual survey of tax collections. Most of the growth came from general sales and gross receipts taxes, which increased by 4.8 percent to $271.3 billion.

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    Over a million students attend financially shaky colleges. During the 2012-2013 academic year, 1.6 million students-- or about 5% of college students in the country-- went to schools currently under so-called heightened cash monitoring, according to a new study. Lessons from Gisele Bündchen's midlife career change.

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    For details of foreign central banks' holdings of U.S. marketable securities held at the Federal Reserve, see: http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h41/Current/h41.pdf.

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    For details of the Federal Reserve's money supply report, see: http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h41/current/h41.pdf. http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h6/current/h6.pdf. http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h3/current/h3.pdf.

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    By Myra P. Saefong and Carla Mozee, MarketWatch, Eric Yep. OPEC forecasts higher demand for its crude. Crude-oil futures shook off earlier weakness on Thursday to tally a six-session gain of more than 12% as a smaller- than-expected weekly rise in U.S. crude supplies was seen as a possible sign of a slowdown in U.S. production.