U.S. stocks drop a third day on Fed bets amid auto, retail data

Auto Inventories

Carmakers and parts suppliers fell the most among 24 S&P 500 industries as Ford forecast today that its North American production will slip 1.8% in next year’s first quarter amid rising inventories.

Automakers entered their year-end sales push last month with their biggest supply of cars and trucks in eight years. If buyers don’t absorb enough supply, more automakers, including General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, may need to follow Ford in trimming output to avoid margin-slicing discounts.

Sales at Ford and GM exceeded or met analysts’ estimates for November. Ford fell 3.2% to $16.51 and GM dropped 3% to $37.93.

An S&P index of retailers lost 0.8%, extending yesterday’s 0.7% drop, even as online sales on Cyber Monday rose 21% from a year ago for a single-day record.

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