By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed
| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Global equity markets were jittery on Friday, even as Wall Street clung to modest gains as investors looked past worries about the outcome of the U.S. presidential election to snap an eight-day losing streak.Oil prices remained weak on scepticism about whether OPEC members will adhere to planned production limits, boosting concerns about low inflation and sending U.S. Treasury prices higher.A dismal outing for Asian and European share indexes weighed on MSCI's 47-country "All World" index .MIWD00000PUS, which was down 0.31 percent, but the index was supported by Wall Street.U.S. stocks found favour with investors after eight straight days of losses, the longest losing streak since 2008, which sent the S&P 500 index down 2.9 percent."Investors are buying anything that looks like a dip and that is because the fundamentals continue to be pretty good even though I think there is a lot of anxiety about next week’s election," said Kate Warne, investment strategist with Edward Jones in St. Louis."With the pullback, I think investors are seeing some bargains out there."An upbeat jobs report helped soothe nerves. U.S. employers maintained a strong pace of hiring in October and boosted wages, which could effectively seal the case for a December interest rate increase from the U.S. Federal Reserve."This was a very good report. With the hourly wage number beginning to accelerate, the Fed will have all the cover it needs to raise rates in December," said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania.
Economists also said the upbeat employment report could provide a boost to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton against her Republican rival Donald Trump as the race to the White House tightens and becomes increasingly bitter and divisive.Investors have been unnerved by signs the race is tightening; Clinton had until recently been thought to have a clear lead.The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 8.15 points, or 0.05 percent, to 17,922.52, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 1.76 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,090.42 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 0.68 point, or 0.01 percent, to 5,059.09.European shares slumped, weighed down by weaker drugmakers after two U.S. lawmakers called on federal antitrust regulators to open an investigation into possible price fixing.
Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 closed down 0.79 percent at 1,296.32.Oil futures were on course for their biggest weekly percentage declines since January of just under 10 percent as signs of tensions resurfaced between Saudi Arabia and Iran that could scupper a key supply cut pact.Riyadh told a meeting of OPEC experts last week that it could raise oil output steeply to bring prices down if Tehran refuses to limit its supply, OPEC sources say.Brent crude LCOc1 settled down 77 cents, or 1.66 percent, at $45.58 a barrel, and U.S. crude CLc1 settled down 59 cents, or 1.32 percent, at $44.07.
The weakness in oil prices raised concerns about low inflation and boosted U.S. Treasury prices. Uncertainty about the election also enhanced the appeal of the lower-risk assets.Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR were up 8/32 in price to yield 1.78 percent, after rising as high as 1.83 percent on the employment data.While the solid U.S. jobs report supported expectations for a December Federal Reserve interest rate hike, it failed to stem losses for the U.S. dollar.Nervousness ahead of next week's election has hit the greenback in recent days and the dollar index .DXY, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was down 0.1 pct, near a three-week low.Gold steadied, heading for its biggest weekly rise since mid-September as jitters over the election offset the solid payrolls report.Spot gold prices XAU= were little changed at $1,302.89 an ounce. (Additional reporting by Lewis Krauskopf and Chuck Mikolajczak in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Dan Grebler)
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