Friday, 4 November 2016

Global stocks slip on U.S. election nerves, pound up on Brexit ruling

Global equity prices drifted lower on Thursday as worries about the U.S. presidential election continued to weigh on investor sentiment, while sterling rose after a UK court ruled that the British government needed parliamentary approval to trigger Brexit.

U.S. Treasury prices slipped after the Bank of England scrapped plans to cut interest rates and projected higher inflation, and oil prices remained weak on skepticism about OPEC's planned production limit.

MSCI's 47-country "All World", was down 0.24 percent, dragged down by weakness on Wall Street.

U.S. stocks, which started the day steady after the UK court ruling eased worries that Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet is set on a "hard" exit from the EU, failed to hold gains.

The S&P 500 .SPX was on track to close lower for an eight day, the index's longest losing streak since the financial crisis of 2008.

Facebook  shares fell as much as 6 percent and were the biggest drag on the S&P and the Nasdaq, a day after the social media giant warned that revenue growth would slow this quarter.

"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," he said.

Investors have been unnerved in recent days by signs that the U.S. presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump was tightening just days before the vote on Tuesday.

The CBOE Volatility Index .VIX, a gauge of near-term investor anxiety, rose 11.5 percent to its highest level since late June.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 4.65 points, or 0.03 percent, to 17,954.99, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 5.8 points, or 0.28 percent, to 2,092.14 and the Nasdaq Composite  dropped 34.22 points, or 0.67 percent, to 5,071.34.

The pan-European STOXX 600 ended flat, giving up early gains as a strengthened pound weighed on the shares internationally exposed companies including Diageo

The sterling surged to a four-week high after the UK court ruling soothed concerns about Brexit and the Bank of England scrapped plans to cut interest rates.

Sterling climbed as much as 1.5 percent to hit $1.2494, its strongest since Oct. 7.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar hovered near multi-week lows against a basket of major currencies, on uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, ending a morning reprieve that saw the dollar stabilize.

"Most polls are still showing that it's far too close to call, and that's ultimately what's keeping investors nervous," Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.

"We're now seeing markets price in a higher risk of a Trump presidency."

The dollar index .DXY, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was down 0.26 percent to 97.149.

In bond markets, U.S. Treasury prices dipped, with long-dated bonds underperforming, after the Bank of England scrapped plans to cut interest rates and indicated that inflation is likely to rise further.

The BoE ramped up its forecasts for growth and predicted that inflation would jump to 2.7 percent this time next year, nearly triple its current level.

Benchmark 10-year notes  were down 4/32 in price to yield 1.81 percent, up from 1.80 percent late on Wednesday.

Oil prices extended their recent slide as investors fretted over a record weekly surge in U.S. crude inventories and many remained skeptical about whether OPEC will actually implement its planned output cap.

Brent crude settled down 51 cents, or 1.09 percent, at $46.35 a barrel, and U.S. crude settled down 68 cents, or 1.50 percent, at $44.66.

Gold edged higher in response to the lower dollar and also uncertainty about the outcome of the U.S. presidential race.

Spot gold prices XAU= were up 0.31 percent to $1,300.93.

Reference: Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

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