Stocks in New York opened to the downside Friday, following markets abroad, as disillusioned investors perused more economic data and earnings.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was recently falling 131 points to7335, and the

S&P 500

was giving up 12 points to 767. The

Nasdaq

was lower by 18 points at 1425, out of the gate.

The U.S. government continued to offer read outs on the economy Friday, as the Department of Labor reported that the consumer price index, a widely used inflation indicator, rose 0.3%, in line with expectations, after an 0.8% decline in December. Factoring out food and energy, it increased 0.2% in January, after no change in December. Of note was the fact that over the last 12 months, the inflation rate has been exactly zero, the lowest reading since 1955.

The energy index climbed 1.7% in January, its first increase in six months, although that is still 31.4% below its July 2008 peak level.

On Thursday, the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

closed at its lowest level since 2002, adding to the losses for the holiday-shortened week, which was jam-packed with economic policy, data, and, of course, debate. Banks took the brunt of the blow Thursday, with the KBW Banking index down 6.8%.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

Chairman and CEO Kenneth Lewis was

issued a subpoena late last week by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, according to the

Wall Street Journal

. Cuomo's office is trying to determine if investors were misled about the depth of Merrill Lynch's losses in late 2008 and whether details of the bonuses to Merrill employees, contained in a nonpublic document, should have been disclosed to investors, according to the report.

In earnings, the world's second-largest home-improvement retailer,

Lowe's

(LOW) - Get Report

, said earnings in the fourth quarter

declined 60% from a year earlier to $162 million, or 11 cents a share. Shares were off by more than 4% in the premarket.

In other news, Saab, the Swedish-based unit of

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

filed for protection from its creditors Friday so it can be spun off or sold by its struggling U.S. parent.

The dollar was strengthening against the pound, euro, and weaker against the yen early Friday. Longer-dated Treasuries were on the uptick. The 10-year note was recently rising 31/32, yielding 2.7%, while the 30-year was adding 13/32, yielding 3.5%.

In commodities, oil was falling $2.26 to 37.22 a barrel, while gold was moving up $22.40 to $998.90 an ounce.

Stocks overseas were broadly lower. In Europe, the FTSE in London and DAX in Frankfurt gave up 2.8% and 4%, respectively. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng were both lower as well.