U.S. Stocks Drop as Budget Deal Spurs Bets on Fed Cuts

Posted by Bloomberg

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U.S. stocks fell a second day, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its biggest back-to-back drop in two months, as a congressional budget accord fueled speculation the Federal Reserve could trim stimulus next week.

Cisco Systems Inc. lost 1.6 percent after losing a European Union court bid to overturn approval of Microsoft Corp.’s 2011 takeover of Skype Technologies SA. Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings plunged 11 percent after issuing a profit forecast below analysts’ estimates.MasterCard Inc. (MA)climbed 3.5 percent after saying its board of directors approved an 83 percentdividend increase and a 10-for-1 stock split.

The S&P 500 dropped 1.1 percent to 1,782.22 at 4 p.m. in New York, extending its two-day slide to 1.5 percent from a record on Dec. 8. Today’s retreat was the biggest since Nov. 7. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 129.60 points, or 0.8 percent, to 15,843.53. About 6.5 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 6.5 percent above the three-month average.

“We’ve moved much closer for the Fed to taper in December,” Jeffrey Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial LLC in Boston, said in a telephone interview. “Markets are increasing their views that we are a week or so away from tapering because of improving economic data and clearing the hurdle for a budget deal. This deal is great, it’s a positive, but also a negative because it could prompt the Fed to taper sooner.”

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