An inflation gauge closely tracked by Federal Reserve rises at slowest pace this year

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WASHINGTON — A price gauge closely tracked by the Federal Reserve cooled slightly last month, a sign that inflation may be easing after running high in the first three months of this year.

Friday’s report from the U.S. Commerce Department showed that an index that excludes volatile food and energy costs rose 0.2 percent from March to April, down from 0.3 percent in the previous month. It was the mildest such increase so far this year.

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