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Wal-Mart’s earnings miss; Consumer inflation data released; Fast-food strikes go global

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The U.S. Labor Department released two key pieces of economic data this morning. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.3% in April, its largest increase in 10 months. The rise was influenced by a big jump in food and gas costs. The CPI rose 2.0%  from the same period a year ago. Meanwhile, new applications for weekly jobless benefits fell to their lowest levels since May 2007. It was the first time claims have reached pre-recession levels. Claims declined 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 297,000.

Wal-Mart (WMT) issued a weak forecast for the current quarter and posted its fifth consecutive quarterly sales decline, as the winter weather kept shoppers away. Revenue of $114.2 billion missed analysts' estimates of $116.3 billion. Earnings per share came in a nickel short of estimates at $1.10 a share.

Another stock the Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you today is Cisco Systems (CSCO). Investors applauded a better-than-expected outlook from the company. The network equipment giant says it expects revenue for the current quarter to only decline between 1% and 3%, thanks to new products which are bringing back customers. That's less than the 6% drop analysts were expecting. Cisco also reported earnings that topped Wall Street forecasts by $0.03. Revenue of $11.55 billion also beat estimates.

Fast-food workers have planned demonstrations in 150 cities in the U.S. and more than 80 cities in 30 other countries to protest low wages. Workers have protested in the U.S. before, pushing for a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

In our poll today, we want to know about your spending habits. Have you become more cautious about how you spend your money in the past few months? Cast your vote, or leave a comment below or on Twitter.

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