U.S. consumer prices edged down in August, marking the first decline in seven months and fueled by a big drop in gasoline prices. The Labor Department said Wednesday that its consumer price index slipped 0.1 percent in August after a small 0.1 percent rise in July. Gas prices, which had been rising for three months, dropped 4.1 percent amid a recent fall in global oil prices.

Builders’ optimism highest since 2005

U.S. homebuilders are feeling slightly more optimistic about the housing market, nudging their confidence this month to a level not seen since the high-flying days of the housing boom nearly 10 years ago. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Wednesday rose this month to 62, up from 61 in August. The last time the reading was higher was October 2005 at 68. Readings above 50 indicate that more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor.

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