Wall Street managed to absorb another dose of bad news on interest rates today, holding its own after the government reported an unexpectedly large leap in wholesale prices last month.
The Standard & Poors 500 stock index slipped, but less than one point, to 1096.44.
The Nasdaq Stock Market composite index gained less than half a point to 1926.03.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell by 34 points to 10010.74.
After a wild day on Wednesday, when the Dow swung from a 150 point loss to a small gain, today's trading was calm.
The market's first reaction to the report that producer prices jumped 0.7 percent last month was negative.
The increase in wholesale costs was at least twice what economists were expecting. Much of the increase was due to higher prices for milk and gasoline, which economists often factor out of their inflation calculations because food and energy prices jump around so much.
But consumers don't ignore $2-a-gallon gasoline or $4-a-gallon milk, because they are purchases that are made every week and prices are easy to track.
The rising costs of gasoline threatens to pinch consumer spending -- particularly for lower income families, the chief executive of Wal-Mart warned today. The nation's biggest retailer posted strong first quarter profits, which it said were helped by sales of clothing -- one of Wal Mart's most profitable merchandise categories.
But Wal-Mart's chief executive said he fears sales will suffer as the result of steadily rising energy prices. The nation's biggest retailer calculates that gasoline has taken $7 a week out of the average family's budget -- which is money that can't get spent at Wal-Mart or anywhere else.
Today in New York, gasoline futures and crude oil both hit 20-year highs.
Gas for delivery next month topped $1.40 a gallon -- a wholesale price that does not include taxes or profits for distributors and gas station owners.
Crude oil climbed to $41.08 -- which is just a 7 cents a barrel short of the all-time record.