Stock index futures dipped on Friday on a surprise announcement by the Federal Reserve that signaled to some investors that the central bank may be retreating from its easy money policy.

The Federal Reserve on Thursday said that it was raising the discount rate that it charges banks for emergency loans. The move, despite being a signal the economy is on the right track, alarmed investors who have relied heavily on near-zero interest rates and have shoveled cheap money into riskier investments like equities and commodities that yield more returns.

Futures fell on the unexpected announcement after U.S. stocks posted a third straight day of gains on solid earnings and economic data.

Fed officials moved to calm speculation that a surprise rise in its discount rate could bring forward broader policy tightening, saying borrowing costs in the economy would stay low.

S&P 500 futures fell 7.7 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures lost 55 points and Nasdaq 100 futures shed 7.8 points.

The Labor Department will release January consumer prices at 8:30 a.m. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a 0.3 percent increase compared with a 0.2 percent rise the prior month. Excluding volatile food and energy items, CPI is seen up 0.1 percent, a repeat of the December reading.

Financial stocks are in the spotlight as they are likely to be the most influenced by the Fed's move. The Select Sector SPDR Financial fund fell 1 percent after the Fed news.

Shares in Dell Inc fell 6.4 percent to $13.50 in premarket trade. The company's quarterly gross margin missed Wall Street expectations on Thursday after the bell, hurt by sales of lower-priced personal computers for consumers and a rise in costs for memory chips and other components.

U.S. oilfield services leader Schlumberger Ltd fell 2.8 percent to $63.99 in premarket trade. The company is in advanced talks to buy smaller rival Smith International Inc , the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the negotiations.

Former Bank of America Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis said he was briefed twice on his company's decision not to disclose rising losses at Merrill Lynch & Co, before the bank's takeover of Merrill was put before shareholders.

The U.S. dollar hit an eight-month high against a currency basket in the wake of the Fed's surprise announcement.

(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)