Financial Professionals

September 19th, 2023

Gas Pushes Inflation Higher, Fed Shifts Stance, Higher Fuel Costs Impact Business


In today’s Steady Investor, we dive into key factors that we believe could impact the future of the market such as:

• Inflation ticks higher in August
• An important shift in the Fed officials’ rate stance
• The effects of higher fuel costs

Inflation Ticks Higher in August, Driven Mostly by Gas Prices – The Labor Department released the latest consumer price index (inflation) data on Wednesday. Prices moved in the wrong direction. The report showed CPI increasing by 0.6% in August from the previous month, with the annual increase registering at 3.7%. In July, the annual inflation print was 3.2%. The culprit in August was gas prices, which have been rising as crude oil prices rise globally. The announcement by Saudi Arabia and OPEC+ that production cuts scheduled to end in September would be extended to the end of the year sent crude oil prices higher, with the global price of a barrel rising above $90. Food and energy prices have historically been very volatile components of the consumer price index and other inflation gauges, which is why the Federal Reserve generally focuses on underlying inflation forces, found in the ‘core’ measure. Core CPI strips out food and energy, and that metric was up 0.3% in August from July and 4.3% year-over-year, a solid improvement from July’s 4.7% print. Importantly, when core CPI is looked at over a 3-month period, it increased at an annual rate of 2.4%, which is a substantial improvement from the 5% annual rate recorded over the previous 3-month stretch. The Labor Department reported that half of August’s increase was because of gas prices, which arguably keeps the Fed from becoming too worried and sets up a ‘pause’ of rate increases at the next meeting.1

Protect Your Retirement Against Life’s Unknowns

You’ve worked hard to build your retirement. But what if the stock market plunges, wiping out half of your portfolio? Are your investments prepared for the outcome?

Today, we’re offering our free guide, How Solid Is Your Retirement Strategy?2, which offers our views on some key retirement investment strategies that may help you preserve your financial security in retirement, including:

• The importance of flexible portfolio allocation
• Why keeping some liquid assets can potentially help you preserve more wealth
• Understanding your risk tolerance in case of a market downturn
• Plus, more strategies to help you protect your retirement assets

If you have $500,000 or more to invest, get our free guide by clicking on the link below.

Get our FREE guide: How Solid Is Your Retirement Strategy?2

Core inflation continued in a downtrend, while gas prices pushed overall CPI higher

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis3

The Fed’s Shifting Stance – While some headlines may suggest that inflation got worse in August, the Federal Reserve likely won’t be overly concerned about the overall CPI figure. For one, Core CPI continued to trend lower, as we mentioned previously. But there has also been a notable shift in thinking among Fed officials and policymakers over the past year. This time last year, Fed officials seemed convinced that the U.S. economy needed to enter a recession – with a meaningful bump in unemployment – in order to bring price pressures down. But that outlook has changed. Now many policymakers worry that overtightening by raising rates too much could lead to an unnecessary downturn, or perhaps result in more problems in the banking sector. Many have pointed to the fact that monetary policy is already tight, with the fed funds rate higher than the current inflation rate, and that more time is needed to gauge the full effect of higher rates on the economy.4

How Higher Fuel Costs are Impacting Business – Within the Labor Department’s inflation report, it was noted that energy prices charged by suppliers for gasoline were up 20%, jet fuel was up 24%, and diesel fuel was up 41%. These heavy fuels are more easily made from denser Russia and Middle Eastern crude oil, versus U.S. shale oil. And since Russia and the Middle East recently announced an extension of production cuts, price pressures have been mounting. But another key factor driving prices higher, particularly for jet fuels, has been the resurgence of travel in China with the end of zero-Covid and associated travel restrictions. Reports show that China’s jet fuel consumption is rising back to pre-pandemic levels. Interestingly, jet fuel, marine fuel, and diesel all derive from the same fraction of a barrel of oil, such that making a gallon more of jet fuel means making a gallon less of the others. That’s putting pressure on all three categories, which is affecting costs and margins across the airline, trucking, and other fuel intensive businesses.5

Key Insights into Protecting Your Retirement Portfolio – While there is no way to prevent sudden changes in the market, there are ways for investors to keep their retirement assets protected.

We recommend finding a retirement strategy that takes the “what ifs” into account. Our free guide, How Solid Is Your Retirement Strategy6, is available today to all Steady Investor readers. You’ll get valuable and practical ideas to help build a “weatherproof” retirement strategy that can potentially protect your retirement nest egg from any storm that could threaten your financial security.

If you have $500,000 or more to invest, download our free guide today!


1 Wall Street Journal. September 13, 2023.

2 ZIM may amend or rescind the guide “How Solid Is Your Retirement Strategy?” for any reason and at ZIM’s discretion.

3 Fred Economic Data. September 13, 2023.

4 Wall Street Journal. September 10, 2023.

5 Wall Street Journal. September 14, 2023.

6 ZIM may amend or rescind the guide “How Solid Is Your Retirement Strategy?” for any reason and at ZIM’s discretion.


Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss.

Zacks Investment Management, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zacks Investment Research. Zacks Investment Management is an independent Registered Investment Advisory firm and acts as an investment manager for individuals and institutions. Zacks Investment Research is a provider of earnings data and other financial data to institutions and to individuals.

This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. Do not act or rely upon the information and advice given in this publication without seeking the services of competent and professional legal, tax, or accounting counsel. Publication and distribution of this article is not intended to create, and the information contained herein does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment or strategy is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole.

Any projections, targets, or estimates in this report are forward looking statements and are based on the firm’s research, analysis, and assumptions. Due to rapidly changing market conditions and the complexity of investment decisions, supplemental information and other sources may be required to make informed investment decisions based on your individual investment objectives and suitability specifications. All expressions of opinions are subject to change without notice. Clients should seek financial advice regarding the appropriateness of investing in any security or investment strategy discussed in this presentation.

Certain economic and market information contained herein has been obtained from published sources prepared by other parties. Zacks Investment Management does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of such information. Further, no third party has assumed responsibility for independently verifying the information contained herein and accordingly no such persons make any representations with respect to the accuracy, completeness or reasonableness of the information provided herein. Unless otherwise indicated, market analysis and conclusions are based upon opinions or assumptions that Zacks Investment Management considers to be reasonable.

The S&P 500 Index is a well-known, unmanaged index of the prices of 500 large-company common stocks, mainly blue-chip stocks, selected by Standard & Poor’s. The S&P 500 Index assumes reinvestment of dividends but does not reflect advisory fees. The volatility of the benchmark may be materially different from the individual performance obtained by a specific investor. An investor cannot invest directly in an index.

Questions posed are for demonstrative and informational purposes only and may not reflect the views of current clients or any one individual.

Any investment inherently involves a high degree of risk, beyond any specific risks discussed herein.
Is September Always A Terrible Month For Stocks?
Even With Higher Rates, Companies Are Borrowing At Record Pace

Explore Zack’s Archives

Financial Professionals
November 29th, 2023
Global Debt Interest Hits $2 Trillion
Read more
Financial Professionals
November 27th, 2023
Lower Shopping Prices This Holiday Season, Real Estate Commission Verdict
Read more
Financial Professionals
November 27th, 2023
3 Year-End Market Outcomes That Will Be Reasons To Celebrate
Read more
November 20th, 2023
Commercial Real Estate Issues, Inflation Continues To Fall, Small Biz Borrowing Down
Read more
Financial Professionals
November 20th, 2023
Untangling The Confusion Around RMDs (Required Minimum Distributions)
Read more
Financial Professionals
November 20th, 2023
$1 trillion interest payment On U.S. government Debt?
Read more

Daily financial tips directly
from the Zacks family.




I'm a Private Client I'm a Financial Professional