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U.S. Stocks Drop to One-Month Low as Economic Data May Push Fed to Taper

U.S. Stocks Drop to One-Month Low as Economic Data May Push Fed to Taper (Bloomberg)

U.S. stocks fell a third day, dropping the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to a one-month low, as improving economic data heightened speculation the Federal Reserve could cut stimulus as soon as next week. The S&P 500 fell 0.4 percent to 1,775.50 at 4 p.m. in New York, extending a three-day drop to 1.8 percent after closing at a record on Dec. 9. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 104.10 points, or 0.7 percent, to 15,739.43, also a one-month low. About 6.3 billion shares traded on U.S. exchanges, roughly 3.3 percent above the three-month average. The S&P 500 (SPX) fell 1.1 percent yesterday after a federal budget deal fueled concern that the Fed may start tapering its bond buying earlier than forecast. Today, Oracle Corp. fell 2.8 percent after RBC Capital Markets LLC cut its rating on the stock. Lululemon Athletica Inc. plunged 12 percent after projecting fourth-quarter profit that trailed analysts’ estimates. Facebook Inc. rose 5 percent as S&P Dow Jones Indices announced the stock will join the S&P 500 next week.

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