U.S. stocks open lower on strong retail sales

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U.S. stock indexes opened lower on Wednesday after January retail sales number came in higher than expected, a sign that the U.S. economic growth picked up at the start of the year despite increased rate hikes by the Federal Reserve to tame inflation. The Dow Jones Industrial Average

dropped 190 points, or 0.6%, to 33,885. The S&P 500

was off 0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite

shed 0.5%. Sales at U.S. retailers jumped 3% in January, topping the 1.9% Wall Street estimate, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Retail sales are a big part of consumer spending and could offer clues about the strength of the economy. The report comes as the investors continued to digest mixed signs on inflation after the release of January’s consumer price index Tuesday. January’s consumer price index showed inflation slowed for a seventh straight month, but not as quickly as economists had expected.

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