Inflation Hits New 40-Year High as War Pushes Oil, Commodities Higher

Amazon plans 20-for-1 stock split

Soaring fuel, food, and housing prices pushed prices up 7.9% since last year, as inflation hit a new 40-year high.

In February alone, the Labor Department's Consumer Price Index jumped nearly one percent as Russia's attack on Ukraine pushed gasoline and grain prices higher. Gas prices spiked 6.6% in February and accounted for almost a third of the all items monthly increase, the department said in a statement. Gas hit a national average of $4.32 today, another record, according to AAA.

cpi

Core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, rose 6.4% year-over-year, following a 6% jump reported in January.  

The Labor Department also reported in a separate statement that new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 11,000 to 227,000 last week, in line with economist estimates. 

Amazon to Split Stock 20-for-1

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) announced its first stock split since the dotcom boom. Amazon shares were gaining nearly 4% this morning after the ecommerce and cloud computing giant announced its board approved a 20-for-1 stock split and said it was expanding its stock buyback program to $10 billion. This is Amazon’s first stock split since 1999. 

Although a stock split does not increase the value of Amazon’s shares, it will make it easier and generally cheaper for retail investors to buy shares, which are worth nearly $3,000 per share. If the stock were to split at its current level, each share would be worth about $140, and each shareholder would get an additional 19 shares for each share they own. The split will be effective at the close of business on May 27, following a shareholder vote at the company’s annual meeting on May 25th.  

Amazon's announcement follows news last month that Google parent Alphabet would split its stock 20-for-1, effective on July 15. Apple split its stock 4-for-1 in 2020.

Another possible benefit for the stock splits for Amazon and Alphabet is that they could now be included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Adding higher-priced shares to the Dow is problematic since it is price-weighted, meaning the same percentage move matters more for a higher-priced stock than a lower-priced stock. 

Amazon’s stock has lagged behind other big technology stocks. It's down 16% so far this year, and 9% lower over the past year.  

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  1. AAA. "National Average Gas Prices."

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