Interest rates inched higher Thursday as Producer Prices and Leading Indicators rose more than forecast. The Producer Price Index for January rose 0.8% from December. The more closely watched “core” rate, excluding volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.4%. Analysts had been expecting an increase of 0.1%. The Conference Board’s Index of Leading Indicators rose 0.4% in January, the second consecutive increase. Although the economy remains mired in recession, the reading implies the intensity of the downturn may begin to ease in coming months. First time Jobless Claims came in at 627,000, in line with expectations. Stocks were little changed. The Consumer Price Index for January will be released tomorrow.