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US stocks drop on stimulus bets.

Byline: Nick Taborek and Callie Bost

U.S. stocks declined Thursday, after improving economic data boosted bets the Federal Reserve will curb its monthly bond purchases sooner than estimated.

Microsoft Corp. fell 2.4 percent after comments from a Ford Motor Co. director indicated Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally would not take over Microsoft's top job. Safeway Inc. slid 4.6 percent after Jana Partners LLC cut its stake in the supermarket chain. J.C. Penney Co. lost 8.4 percent after hedge fund manager J. Kyle Bass said he sold his stake in the struggling retailer.

The S&P 500 fell 0.4 percent to 1,785.03 at 4 p.m. in New York. The gauge has retreated 1.2 percent in the past five sessions for its longest slump since September. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 68.26 points, or 0.4 percent, to 15,821.51. About 6.1 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, in-line with the three-month average.

"The numbers today pave the way for the Fed'' to cut stimulus, Matthew Kaufler, a portfolio manager at Federated Investors Inc. in Rochester, N.Y., said by phone. His firm oversees $363.8 billion. "There's angst in the short run, but I think it's only positive in the long run that the Fed begin to taper and extricate itself from being the ultimate market maker.''

-- Bloomberg News
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Title Annotation:Business
Author:Taborek, Nick; Bost, Callie
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Dec 6, 2013
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