By KATHLEEN MADIGAN
A DOW JONES NEWSWIRES COLUMN
NEW YORK — As indicated by the May consumer price index, inflation remains the no-show of this recovery.
The top-line CPI has fallen for two months in a row, dragged down by falling energy prices. Even excluding food and energy, the core CPI has risen just 0.9% over the past year.
Underneath the quiet surface, however, are signs of “stealth inflation.” Companies and industries are trying to slip in price increases without appearing to be hiking prices.
It’s a way to pump up revenues at a time when demand growth remains modest. The incidents should become more numerous when the recovery becomes more durable and businesses test the waters when it comes to raising prices.
By Martin Peers
A DOW JONES COLUMN
It’s a sign of Google’s extraordinary success that its name has become synonymous with Web searches. It should be careful that it doesn’t also become a metaphor for trying to do too much.
Reports that Google plans to begin selling a cellphone directly to consumers should worry its shareholders. Going around wireless carriers by selling directly to consumers promises to be costly. Google will either have to sell a phone pitched at a much higher price than the competition or subsidize the costs itself as carriers do now. Either way, it is going up against a plethora of other smartphones without the marketing firepower that carriers bring to bear on new phones they sell.