The prospect of falling price levels occupied the investment spotlight for less than a year. Suddenly, the focus has shifted to inflation. The rate of the rise in the Consumer Price Index jumped from 1.0% in 2003’s fourth quarter all the way to 3.2% in 2004’s first quarter. Deflation, says Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, is no longer a worry.
Among investors, declining purchasing power is not quite as dim a memory as its opposite number. Nevertheless, all analysts and portfolio managers