Consumer Prices Fall for First Time in Four Months

Federal Reserve has more room to ease monetary policy

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Still, the headwinds to U.S. growth appear strong enough that the Fed could be forced to act before long.

"At this point it would probably take only a few missteps out of elected Washington or the capitals of Europe before Fed leadership sees the need for more aggressive action," said Michael Feroli, an economist at J.P. Morgan.

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