By Tanya Agrawal
U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 headed for seventh day of losses as a tightening race for the White House rattled investors and a fall in oil also weighed on sentiment.Investors are rethinking their long-held bets of a Nov. 8 victory for Democrat Hillary Clinton amid signs that her Republican rival Donald Trump could be closing the gap.While Clinton held a 5 percentage point lead over Trump, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Monday, some other polls showed her Republican rival ahead by 1-2 percentage points."The main driver for today is concerns regarding the election. It looked like Clinton was going to win and now that Trump is gaining momentum, it's making people nervous," said Neil Massa, senior equity trader at Manulife Asset Management in Boston."The market doesn't like uncertainty and just wants to know one way or another. The fall in crude oil isn't helping matters either."Gold hit a near one-month high, suggesting investor anxiety over the election.Wall Street closed lower on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 ending the day at the lowest level since July 7. The index had breached a key technical level earlier in the session.The selloff in equities comes as the Fed holds its two-day policy meeting, with a statement due at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT).
While traders do not expect the central bank to raise interest rates just a week before the election, they are looking for clues that the Fed is set to hike rates in December.Traders are pricing in a 73.6 percent chance of a December hike, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.At 10:59 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones industrial average was down 41.47 points, or 0.23 percent, at 17,995.63.The S&P 500 was down 8.68 points, or 0.41 percent, at 2,103.04.
The Nasdaq Composite was down 19.45 points, or 0.38 percent, at 5,134.13.Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the energy index's 1.65 percent fall topping the decliners.Crude oil prices fell for the fourth day after industry data showed a surprise build in U.S. stockpiles. Oil has lost more than 10 percent in the last two weeks. Chevron fell 1.7 percent and weighed the most on the Dow and the S&P.
The rate-sensitive utilities index was down 1.64 percent.Brocade Communications was up 10.3 percent at $12.40 after chipmaker Broadcom said it would buy the company for $5.5 billion. Broadcom was up 1.9 percent at $171.99.Yelp jumped 9.7 percent to $32.48 after the consumer review website operator raised its full-year revenue forecast.Kate Spade and Estee Lauder fell 5.4 and 3.5 percent, respectively, after their quarterly sales missed estimates.Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,870 to 930. On the Nasdaq, 1,566 issues fell and 968 advanced.The S&P 500 index showed one new 52-week high and eight new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 12 new highs and 77 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Anil D'Silva)
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Updated Date: Nov 02, 2016 22:00 PM