tile food and energy, rose 6.3 per cent in the past 12 months and 0.3 per cent from September.

The numbers were all lower than economists had expected.

Helping to drive the inflation slowdown from September to October were used car prices, which dropped for a fourth straight month. Also down were the prices of clothing and medical care. Food price increases slowed. By contrast, energy prices rebounded in October after having declined in August and September.

Even with last month’s tentative easing of inflation, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to keep raising interest rates to try to stem persistently high price increases. But Thursday’s better-than-expected data raised the possibility that the Fed could decide to slow its rate hikes — a prospect that sent stock prices jumping immediately after the government issued the