The numbers: The consumer price index climbed 0.5% in July, the Labor Department said Tuesday.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had estimated a 0.5% advance.

The rate of inflation in the 12 months ended in July remained at 5.4%. for the second straight month, a 20-year high.

However, the closely watched measure of inflation that omits volatile food and energy also rose 0.3%, below expectations of a 0.4% gain. The 12-month rate decelerated to 4.3% from 4.5%, which was a 29-year high.

Key details: Energy prices rose 1.6% in July after a 1.5% gain in the prior month. Food prices moderated slightly, rising 0.7% after a 0.8% gain in June. Owners equivalent rent, a measure of housing, rose 0.3%.

Big picture: Federal Reserve officials are remaining patient and view the surprising gains of inflation as “largely transitory.” Most economists seem to agree but there is a lot of uncertainty.

Some Fed officials are pressing for the central bank to announce in September that it will begin to slow down bond buying later in the fall.

Market reaction: Stocks futures
SPX,
+0.10%

DJIA,
+0.46%

were steady after the release of the CPI data. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
TMUBMUSD10Y,
1.347%

ticked down to 1.362%.

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