Stocks slid at the open today, as investors looked with trepidation toward a likely-to-suck auto sales report. The Dow edged down 50 points, while the Nasdaq and S&P lose 0.9% and 0.7% respectively. Analysts believe auto sales will have fallen by about 40% for December. But GM shares actually rose 1.4%, even as Ford’s shares dropped about 2%.
Traders were also chewing comments from a European Central Bank official and San Francisco’s Fed president, each of whom said separately that they would try to contain deflationary pressures. Overseas stocks were generally strong, with Tokyo’s Nikkei up 2.1% and the Hang Seng up 1.9%.