Inflation is still a vexing problem for most of us, but not for food and energy exchange traded funds (ETFs).

The Producer Price Index – a measure of the price of goods before they hit the stores – shot up 1.4% last month, reports Jeannine Aversa for the Associated Press. You can blame food and energy, because once those are factored out, the index really was only up 0.2%, an improvement over April’s 0.4% increase.

The nation’s factories continued to feel the pinch from the housing slump, too, as industrial production fell 0.2%. The decline is an improvement from April’s 0.7% decline, but it still disappointed economists.

Housing starts fell in May by 3.3% to the slowest pace in 17 years.

So, what’s more expensive? The price of many things rose in May:

  • Diesel: 11.2%
  • Gas: 9.3%
  • Home heating oil: 8%
  • Pork: 8%
  • Fruits/melons: 5.9%

Inflation will be on the minds of many when the Federal Reserve meets next week, but the general feeling seems to be that this time around, they will leave interest rates unchanged. Futures markets are instead betting that rates will be raised in August because of increasing worries about inflation, reports Sudeep Reddy for the Wall Street Journal.

Some of the top funds in early trading today are energy-focused, natch::

  • First Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas Index Fund (FCG), up 39.1% year-to-date
  • PowerShares Dynamic Energy Exploration & Production (PXE), up 21.6% year-to-date
  • Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy (GEX), down 7.9% year-to-date


The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.