By Tanya Agrawal
Wall Street extended losses in afternoon trading on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 near a four-month low, weighed down by weak construction spending data and uncertainty surrounding the U.S. presidential election.Spending on construction unexpectedly fell in September that could lead to a mild downward revision to the third-quarter economic growth estimate.Investors have been cautious about taking large positions due to mounting uncertainty about next week's election and a potential U.S. interest rate hike before the end of the year.The CBOE Volatility Index, a gauge of near-term investor anxiety, jumped as much as 13 percent and was near a seven-week high.Democrat Hillary Clinton held a 5 percentage point lead over Republican rival Donald Trump, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Monday, down only slightly since the FBI said last week it was reviewing new emails in its investigation of Clinton ahead of the Nov. 8 election."The election is causing some uncertainty in the market because a Clinton victory had been priced in and the latest FBI news is causing some nervousness," said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.
The market is also watching the outcome of the two-day Fed meeting, which kicked off on Tuesday. While traders doubt the Fed will raise interest rates this week, they will be looking for signs to firm up their expectations for a hike at the central bank's meeting next month.Chances of a rate hike in December were at around 78 percent, according to the CME Group's FedWatch Tool.At 12:47 p.m. ET (1647 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 89.67 points, or 0.49 percent, at 18,052.75. The S&P 500 was down 14.03 points, or 0.66 percent, at 2,112.12.
The Nasdaq Composite was down 32.81 points, or 0.63 percent, at 5,156.33.All 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the utilities index's 1.24 percent fall leading the decliners.Pfizer was down 2.3 percent at $30.97 after the drugmaker's quarterly profit fell below expectations.
L Brands fell 8 percent to $66.40 after a host of brokerages cut their price targets on the stock.Tronc fell 14.4 percent to $10.30 after Gannett, the publisher of USA Today, said it had abandoned plans to buy the publisher of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. Gannett fell 1.3 percent to $7.67.Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,189 to 659. On the Nasdaq, 1,791 issues fell and 876 advanced.The S&P 500 index showed five new 52-week highs and eight new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 24 new highs and 98 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Anil D'Silva)
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