Wall Street drops on US election nerves

By Margreet Dietz

Trader Peter Tuchman works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo / AP
Trader Peter Tuchman works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo / AP

Wall Street dropped amid concern about the US Presidential election, while Federal Reserve policy makers began their two-day policy meeting.

An ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll showed Republican Donald Trump with 46 percent support to Democrat Hillary Clinton's 45 percent, according to Bloomberg.

However, Clinton held a 5 percentage point lead over Trump, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Monday, down marginally since the FBI said last week it was reviewing new emails in its investigation of Clinton ahead of the election, according to Reuters.

Wall Street slid. In 2.24pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1 per cent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index slid 1.4 per cent. In 2.10pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 1.1 per cent.

Wall Street's fear gauge, the CBOE Volatility Index, soared, trading 19.3 per cent higher at 20.35 as of 2.17pm in New York, the highest level since June.

"This unbelievable election season we're going through isn't exactly engendering confidence," Richard Sichel, chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust, told Bloomberg.

"There's more uncertainty as nervousness reaches a crescendo in the final days. Earnings season is basically over, and while it was a pretty good one, there's nothing out there to trigger an up-move."

Slides in shares of Pfizer and those of Apple, down 2.8 per cent and 2.3 per cent respectively, led the Dow lower.

Pfizer reported quarterly earnings that fell short of expectations.

The latest US economic data were lacklustre. An Institute for Supply Management report showed that its index rose to 51.9 in October, from 51.5 the previous month.

"The latest data suggest that the manufacturing sector is starting to pick up some momentum following a weak run through most of the year so far," Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York, told Reuters. "The sector is due for some improvement as some of the earlier drags that impacted the sector fade."

The Federal Open Market Committee is not expected to announce an interest rate increase at the end of its meeting on Wednesday, though most traders bet it will hike in December.

It wasn't all gloomy.

This unbelievable election season we're going through isn't exactly engendering confidence.
Richard Sichel, Philadelphia Trust chief investment officer

Bucking the trend were shares of Chevron and those of Exxon Mobil, gaining 1.3 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.

Shares of Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world's largest agricultural traders, rallied on better-than-expected quarterly results, bolstered by surging US exports of corn and soybeans.

"After working through the challenging environment in the first half of the year, we capitalised on improving operating conditions in the third quarter and are positioned well for a solid finish to the year," said ADM CEO Juan Luciano in a statement.

"With improving market conditions and a large US harvest, combined with the team's solid execution capabilities, we feel good about the remainder of the year and a stronger 2017."

ADM shares traded 7.9 per cent higher as of 12.57pm in New York.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended the session with a decline of 1.1 per cent from the previous close. It was the lowest close since July 11, according to Bloomberg. The UK's FTSE 100 Index fell 0.5 per cent, France's CAC 40 Index declined 0.9 per cent, while Germany's DAX Index shed 1.3 per cent.

- BusinessDesk

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