US STOCKS-Wall St higher as easing inflation worries outweigh Tillerson exit


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    * U.S. consumer prices rise 0.2 pct in Feb, in line with
    * Markets recover from dip following Tillerson's ouster
    * Indexes up: Dow 0.59 pct, S&P 0.55 pct, Nasdaq 0.59 pct 

 (Updates to open)
    By Sruthi Shankar
    March 13 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes rose on
Tuesday as fears of faster interest rate hikes eased after a
tepid U.S. consumer prices data and investors shrugged off news
of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's ouster.
    U.S. President Donald Trump fired Tillerson on Tuesday after
a series of public rifts over issues including North Korea and
Russia, replacing his chief diplomat with loyalist CIA Director
Mike Pompeo.*:nL1N1QV0JE
    U.S. futures initially fell on the news, but recovered all
of the losses, with the Nasdaq  .IXIC  opening at a record high.
    "I don't think Tillerson out and his replacement is a shock
to the market that lasts very much at all. The turnover in the
Trump administration is so high," said David Kotok, chairman Of
money management firm Cumberland Advisors, Sarasota, Florida.
    The news comes just a week after the departure of Trump's
economic adviser Gary Cohn in the wake of a surprise turn
towards new trade tariffs on steel and aluminum.
    Trump also said he was considering conservative commentator
Larry Kudlow "very strongly" to become his next top economic
    At 9:41 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI  was
up 0.59 percent at 25,326.75.
    The S&P 500  .SPX  gained 0.55 percent to 2,798.46 and the
Nasdaq Composite  .IXIC  rose 0.59 percent at 7,633.14.
    The markets took comfort from data that showed U.S. consumer
price growth slowed in February amid a decline in gasoline
prices and a moderation in the cost of rental accommodation.*:nL1N1QU184
    The data was the latest indication that an anticipated
pickup in inflation probably will be only gradual, providing
little reason for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates
more than three times in 2018.
    "It certainly presents some more difficult questions for the
central bank if they look to embark on a more aggressive hiking
cycle next week. What's the end point for them? How do they
expect to get inflation materially higher if they are already
starting to see some signs of spotty weakness," said Aaron
Kohli, interest rate strategist, BMO Capital Markets in New
    All the 11 major S&P sectors were higher and 28 of the 30
Dow components were in the positive territory.
    General Electric  GE.N  was among the top decliners, falling
4.3 percent after JPMorgan cut its price target on the stock to
$11 from $14, saying the industrial conglomerate was not a
"safety stock" in a volatile market.

 (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun
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