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MID-DAY UPDATE: Consumer prices, Google earnings on the rise

Here are today's top headlines from the Marketplace Morning Report and from around the web.

Word today from the government that consumer prices rose half a percent in March. But the nation's so-called core inflation level -- which doesn't include energy and food prices -- only nudged up very slightly. You can check out Marketplace's coverage here.

Also, more news on inflation in China: Beijing said consumer prices jumped another 5.4 percent over a year ago. Policy makers there have already boosted interest rates four times in the last six months to cool inflation.

U.S. industrial output rose a stronger-than-expected 0.8 percent in March as utility production bounced back and manufacturing continued to exhibit vigor, a report from the Federal Reserve showed Friday.

China, the biggest buyer of U.S. Treasury securities, trimmed its holdings for a fourth straight month in February and Japan boosted its holdings one month before a devastating earthquake hit the country.

U.S. consumer sentiment rose more than expected in April as worries about the impact of higher oil prices on economic growth eased slightly, a survey released Friday showed.

Mattel, maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars, reported a 33 percent drop in first-quarter earnings on higher costs.

Google says its earnings were up more than 25 percent in the first three months of this year. But investors seem more interested in the spending spree Google is on right now. Under the direction of its new CEO Larry Page, Google is investing more in new technologies, businesses and hirings.

Well in addition to Google, Bank of America earnings are out this morning. Its results are lower because of continuing problems in its mortgage division. You can read Marketplace's coverage here.

President Barack Obama, in an ABC interview that aired Friday, said the United States must "be very careful" about releasing oil from the U.S. strategic petroleum reserve at a time of uncertainty in the Middle East.

Congress is set to vote on the House Republican's long-term deficit reduction plan.

Finance ministers from the Group of 20 developed and developing countries are meeting in Washington. Be sure to read Marketplace's coverage here.

Moody's cut Ireland's debt rating by two notches to just above junk status.

Turns out the debit card idea has been around a lot longer than we thought. Archeologists in Germany have discovered a 453-year-old wooden "tally stick." It's got little nicks in it that were used to keep track of debts. I wonder what interchange fees the cobblers and weavers charged customers to use the debit stick. I don't even want to know what the out-of-kingdom ATM fees were.

You won't be seeing as much of the Verizon guy on television commercials anymore. The actor, Paul Marcarelli, told the Atlantic Monthly the wireless carrier is going a different route in its next ad campaign. Marcarelli is still under contract with Verizon. So he hasn't gotten his calls dropped just yet.

You can read the rest of today's headlines from the Marketplace Morning Report here.

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