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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Stocks fall for eighth day in a row ahead of US election

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Stocks retreated for an eighth consecutive day on Thursday as nervous investors remain transfixed on the potential outcome of next week’s US presidential election.

The stock market is now on its longest losing streak since the depths of the 2008 financial crisis.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 28.97 points, or 0.2%, to 17,930.67.

The Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 index lost 9.28 points, or 0.4% , to 2,088.66 and the Nasdaq composite index fell 47.16 points, or 0.9%, to 5,058.41.

With five days left until the election, Hillary Clinton maintains a lead in national polling in the US presidential race but Donald Trump has significantly narrowed the gap, particularly in swing states.

Investors pointed to polls released in the last two days from Florida, New Hampshire and North Carolina where the two candidates are either statistically tied or Mr Trump holds a small lead.

The last time the S&P 500 fell for eight straight days was early October 2008, the depths of the financial crisis.

However the losses over this period have been modest, nowhere close to the losses racked up in 2008.

“It’s a pretty simple equation: uncertainty goes up, stock market goes down,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist with JPMorgan Funds.

Mr Kelly said Mrs Clinton is being considered a continuation of the Obama administration, which is mostly priced into the market, whereas Mr Trump would represent a significant departure from current policies and would introduce a great deal more uncertainty into the economy.

In other parts of the market, generic drugmakers plunged after news reports emerged the Department of Justice is looking to file charges, alleging price fixing, against the companies by end of year.

Mylan lost 2.53 US dollars, or seven per cent, to 34.14 dollars, Teva Pharmaceuticals fell 4.13 dollars, or 9.5%, to 39.20 dollars and Endo International plunged 3.54 dollars, or 19.5%, to 14.63 dollars.

Facebook fell 7.22 dollars, or six per cent, to 119.95 dollars.

While the company reported third-quarter results that easily exceeded analysts’ estimates, it also acknowledged growth in advertising revenue was slowing.

Fitbit, the maker of wearable fitness trackers and other devices, plunged 4.30 dollars, or 34%, to 8.51 dollars after the company slashed its outlook for the year, citing weak demand for its products.

The company also cut its sales forecast for the holiday shopping season.

The price of crude oil extended a losing streak into a fifth day.

Benchmark US crude slipped 68 cents to 44.66 dollars a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 51 cents at 46.35 dollars a barrel in London.

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