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Stocks struggle again as investors eye 2016 election
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were on pace for a seventh consecutive day of losses on Wednesday, as worries over the U.S. presidential election and weaker oil prices shook investor confidence. Several companies fell after posting disappointing results.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 22 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,015 as of 12:10 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 6 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,105 and the Nasdaq composite fell 18 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,134.
The last time the S&P 500 fell for seven straight days was November 2011, during a flare-up of the European sovereign debt crisis.
ELECTION WATCH: Like most of the public, investors have their eyes glued to the presidential race, as polls between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have tightened. The narrowing in the race has brought more uncertainty. Gold and bond prices have risen. The VIX, a volatility measure dubbed the "fear gauge" for Wall Street, jumped 14 percent on Tuesday to its highest level since June. It was up another 3 percent Wednesday.
The Mexican peso, which has become a de facto proxy for Trump's chances to win the election, has fallen steadily against the U.S. dollar since Friday. Investors expect that Mexico's economy would be negatively impacted by a Trump administration, which would weaken the peso.
QUOTABLE: "The lead-up to the U.S. presidential election was always expected to be lively but the events of the last couple of days has seriously taken its toll on investor sentiment," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.
FED WATCH: Aside from the election cliffhanger, the Federal Reserve will wrap up a two-day meeting on Wednesday, announcing their decision at 2 p.m. ET. With the election just six days away, the Fed will likely keep a low profile to try to ensure it doesn't become part of the debate at the close of a tumultuous political campaign. As a result, it's expected to keep interest rates unchanged, though it may signal in its policy statement that a rate hike is likely at the next meeting in mid-December, as many expect.
"However, if we get an unexpected election outcome, the Fed might put any increase on hold. We are not convinced that December is a sure thing," said Brandon Swensen, a portfolio manager and co-head of fixed income trading at RBC Global Asset Management.
LET'S PLAY: Video game publisher Electronic Arts jumped $3.47, or 4.5 percent, to $81.31 after the company's quarterly results beat analysts' expectations.
MORE MERGERS: Brocade Communications rose $1.14, or 10 percent, to $12.38 after Broadcom announced it would buy the company for $5.5 billion. Broadcom rose $2.86, or 1.7 percent, to $171.66.
ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude oil sank $1.42 to $45.26 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, was down $1.41 at $46.63 a barrel. That helped send energy stocks down more than the rest of the market. Chevron dropped $1.36, or 1.3 percent, to $105.11, the biggest loss in the Dow Jones industrial average.
BONDS AND CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 103.19 yen from 103.97 yen, while the euro rose to $1.1122 from $1.1062. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.79 percent from 1.83 percent the day before.
South African universities get an extra $1.2 billion to improve student enrollment
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Students at South African universities and higher education institutions will receive an extra 17 billion rand ($1.2 billion) over the next three years, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday.The government of Africa's most industrilised country is under pressure to improve access to education following the protests that have disrupted learning at various campuses but has said in response to the protests that it could not allocate extra funds to education at the… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
UN to vote on Aleppo ceasefire resolution: diplomats
United Nations (United States) (AFP) - The UN Security Council will vote Monday on a resolution demanding a temporary ceasefire in Aleppo and humanitarian access to residents trapped in the fighting, diplomats said.Egypt, New Zealand and Spain drew up the text calling for a truce of at least seven days following lengthy negotiations with a highly resistant Russia, a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.Spain has just taken over the council's rotating presidency for the month of… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Venezuela's Maduro signs 2017 budget, bypassed Congress cries foul
By Eyanir Chinea and Alexandra UlmerCARACAS (Reuters) - President Nicolas Maduro on Friday signed off on Venezuela's 2017 budget, drawing fire from the opposition-led National Assembly which accused the unpopular leftist leader of despotism for bypassing the legislature.The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed Maduro to put forth the budget without lawmakers' approval, overriding a constitutional obligation.The opposition, which is trying to unseat Maduro as Venezuela wrestles with a deep… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Poland honours Briton who raised funds for slain trucker's family
London (AFP) - Poland's embassy in London on Monday honoured the British trucker who raised nearly Â£200,000 (230,000 euros, $243,000) for the family of a Polish driver killed in the Berlin truck attack last month.David Duncan, from Otley in northern England, started the crowdfunding campaign after Lukasz Urban was found shot dead in his truck, which German police believe was used by Tunisian jihadist Anis Amri in the attack on the Christmas market."I'm a truck driver myself and I just felt… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Guatemala's indigenous seek recognition for justice system
SOLOLA, Guatemala (AP) — The law works as it has for centuries in the Guatemalan indigenous community of Solola: Townsfolk bring grievances and local authorities make rulings, usually with a speed unheard of in a country where justice is often delayed, if it comes at all.At one recent weekly court session, Maria Micaela Panjoc, baby in arms, came with a request for paternity payments. Others sought help with land disputes. Andres Xelp wanted the judges to force his son to move back home.The… chat_bubble_outline Read More...