Excluding volatile food and energy prices, core CPI rose 0.5% in February and 5.5% on a 12-month basis. The consumer price index increased 0.4% for the month, putting the annual inflation rate at 6%, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. Inflation rose in February but was in line with expectations, likely keeping the Federal Reserve on track for another interest rate hike next week despite recent banking industry turmoil. Food prices rose 0.4% and 9.5%, respectively. That entails core services inflation minus housing, a cohort that increased 0.2% in February and 3.7% from a year ago, according to CNBC calculations.