By Tanya Agrawal
U.S. stocks reversed course to trade lower on Thursday as concerns over the tightening race for the White House and a fall in Facebook's shares weighed on sentiment.Facebook fell as much as 5.9 percent to a more than three-month low of $119.61 after the social media giant warned that revenue growth would slow this quarter. The stock was the biggest drag on the S&P and the Nasdaq.The S&P was on track to close lower for an eight day, the index's longest losing streak since the financial crisis of 2008.Investors have been unnerved by the signs that the U.S. presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump was tightening just days before the vote.While some polls put Trump ahead on Tuesday, an average of polls compiled by the RealClearPolitics website showed Clinton retaining a slight lead. A Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll released late on Wednesday showed Clinton ahead by 6 percentage points among likely voters."Stocks are going to be more volatile and will move sideways with a slight downward bias until next week because the election seem incredibly tight and there's a lack of political visibility," said John Brady, managing director at R.J. O’Brien & Associates in Chicago."The market is nervous and in the short-term people will move to the sidelines."
The CBOE Volatility Index, a gauge of near-term investor anxiety, was up about 7.8 percent at 20.84, its highest level in more than four months.In another negative technical sign for the market, the combined number of 52-week lows on the NYSE and the Nasdaq significantly outpaced the number of new highs.At 12:49 p.m. ET (1649 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 17.1 points, or 0.1 percent, at 17,942.54.The S&P 500 was down 6.45 points, or 0.31 percent, at 2,091.49.
The Nasdaq Composite was down 31.24 points, or 0.61 percent, at 5,074.33.Oil prices dipped for a fifth day as investors remained skeptical about OPEC's planned production limit and surprised at a big build in U.S. crude inventories. [O/R]Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, with the technology index's 0.88 percent fall leading the decliners.
Data on Thursday showed U.S. services industry activity cooled in October amid a slowdown in new orders and hiring, suggesting a moderation in economic growth early in the fourth quarter.Fitbit sank as much as 31.1 percent to a record low of $8.82 after the wearable fitness device maker's revenue forecast for the key holiday shopping quarter fell well below estimates.American International Group fell 4.5 percent to $57.84 after the insurer's quarterly profit missed expectations.Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,571 to 1,264. On the Nasdaq, 1,592 issues fell and 1,087 advanced.The S&P 500 index showed two new 52-week highs and 16 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 27 new highs and 147 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Anil D'Silva)
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