Markets Right Now: Stocks seen sharply lower at opening

The latest on developments in financial markets (all times local):

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9:15 a.m.

U.S. stock futures are lower after the government reported the highest increase in consumer prices in a year.

Futures for the Dow Jones industrials were indicating a drop of 177 points at the open. The S&P 500 index was indicated with a decline of 18 points, while Nasdaq was showing a drop of 51.

Before the release of the data, the Dow futures were showing a gain of about 170 points.

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The Labor Department says consumer prices, excluding food and energy, rose 0.3 percent last month. Analysts were expecting an increase of 0.2 percent. Meanwhile, another report shows consumers cut back on spending in January by more than expected.

Investors were anxiously awaiting the data on consumer prices. Recent swings in financial markets were touched off by worries that rising inflation could prompt the Federal Reserve to accelerate increases in interest rates.

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8:40 a.m.

U.S. stock futures sank after the government reported the highest increase in consumer prices in a year and a significant decline in retail sales for January.

The Labor Department said consumer prices, excluding food and energy, rose 0.3 percent last month. Analysts were expecting an increase of 0.2 percent. Meanwhile, another report shows consumers cut back on spending in January by more than expected.

The Dow Jones industrials were indicated to open with a drop of about 320 points. Before the release of the data, the Dow futures were showing a gain of about 170 points.

Investors were anxiously awaiting the data on consumer prices. Recent swings in financial markets were touched off by worries that inflation might rise too quickly, which could prompt the Federal Reserve to accelerate increases in interest rates.

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