Recession Watch: Inflation Rears Its Head

Will surging prices hasten a consumer-led economic downturn? Here's what Wall Street economists and strategists have to say

The market has been preoccupied with the Fed's interest rate cuts, the health of the housing sector, and prospects for the broader U.S. economy. But new record highs reached Feb. 19 in crude oil and other commodities remind us that our old foe, inflation, may be ready to seize the spotlight yet again. Here is a roundup of what some Wall Street economists and strategists—and Fed officials—have to say about the current situation on Feb. 19, as compiled by Standard & Poor's MarketScope and BusinessWeek staff:

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