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Quick Hits: Toy Prices on the Rise

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Brief scrutiny of today's headlines

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At some point consumers will tire of prices that only go up. In the meantime, inflation will continue to eat into American pocketbooks despite Washington's best attempts to release data that says otherwise.

Expensive gas, expensive food, and expensive heat. Now expensive toys.

Mattel (MAT) announced yesterday it would raise prices across brands to make up for a first quarter loss. The company blamed high input costs and litigation expenses on its weak results. By contrast, rival Hasbro (HAS) reported strong numbers behind sales of its Transformers, Littlest Pet Shop and Star Wars lines.

The price hikes put the manufacturers at odds with retailers like Wal-Mart (WMT) that are promising customers lower prices. One retail analyst expects families to choose cheaper options as budgets get squeezed.

Makers of mud puddles and imaginary friends are in for a banner year.

For more on the toy business, check out Hoofy and Boo's always astute analysis:

No positions in stocks mentioned.

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