* August CPI up 0.4 pct, tops expectations and rise in July
* Odds of a December rate hike increase after CPI data
* Equifax tumbles as FTC starts probe into data breach
* Energy stocks gain as U.S. crude tops $50 on IEA forecast
* Indexes down: Dow 0.06 pct, S&P 0.26 pct, Nasdaq 0.52 pct (Updates to open)
By Sruthi Shankar
Sept 14 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s three major indexes opened lower on Thursday, shying away from their record high closes, as an uptick in consumer prices inflation boosted the odds of another interest rate hike this year.
A Labor Department report showed consumer price index (CPI) rose more than expected last month and the gain was the largest in seven months, lifting the year-on-year increase to 1.9 percent from 1.7 percent in July.
Despite the uptick, both CPI and personal consumption expenditures, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, remain stuck below the central bank’s 2-percent target.
“I don’t think they should raise rates in December, but they will, in order to counteract any kind of slowdown in the overall economy,” said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth.
After the data was released, the odds of a hike in December rose to top 50 percent for the first time since July, from 41.3 percent, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
The CPI data is the last to be released before the Fed’s Sept. 19-20 policy meeting, where it is expected to outline a program to start offloading its $4.2 trillion balance sheet.
At 9:38 a.m. ET (1338 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 12.53 points, or 0.06 percent, at 22,145.65 and the S&P 500 was down 6.62 points, or 0.26 percent, at 2,491.75.
The Nasdaq Composite was down 33.55 points, or 0.52 percent, at 6,426.64.
Six of the 11 major S&P sectors were down, with a 0.5 percent decline in technology index on top of the list. Facebook’s 1.2 percent fall dragged on the S&P and the Nasdaq the most.
The gainers were led by the energy index’s 0.6 percent rise after U.S. crude prices hit $50 per barrel after forecasts for stronger demand by the International Energy Agency.
Apple’s shares fell 0.46 percent, staying under pressure on concerns about the pricing and delayed availability of the newly launched iPhone X.
Equifax tumbled as much as 8.9 percent to its lowest level since February 2015 after the Federal Trade Commission opened a probe into the company’s massive data breach.
Hertz Global sank 10.11 percent after Morgan Stanley downgraded the car rental company’s stock.
United Natural Foods jumped 10.6 percent on a better-than-expected profit and an upbeat forecast.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,577 to 937. On the Nasdaq, 1,433 issues fell and 783 advanced. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)