The S&P 500 Index dropped for a ninth straight day, a gauge of equity volatility had the longest stretch of gains on record and Treasuries climbed the most since September ahead of next week’s vote. All the jitters sent the dollar down after a brief advance that followed data showing U.S. jobs rose at a steady pace in October, supporting a Federal Reserve hike next month. Oil sank as hopes faded that OPEC will be able to implement a deal to cut output.
Traders have piled into relatively safer assets as opinion polls showed the U.S. presidential race tightening after Hillary Clinton seemed poised for victory. While American stocks have almost always risen in the days before a presidential election, anxiety about the outcome of the Nov. 8 vote has weighed on the market this time, overshadowing solid economic reports such as the payroll data.
“The jobs number should increase rate-hike odds and push up the dollar further, but nothing is happening in the markets ahead of the election,” said Dennis Debusschere, a senior managing director and global portfolio strategist at Evercore ISI in New York. “All expectations of the rate outlook and by extension the markets are being muted by election uncertainty.”
The S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent to 2,085.18 at 4 p.m. in New York, after erasing a 0.5 percent advance. The gauge dropped 3.1 percent in nine days. The CBOE Volatility Index jumped for a ninth day, the longest streak on record.
“The U.S. elections are the elephant in the room for markets at the moment,” said Christian Gatticker, Zurich-based head of research at Julius Baer Group Ltd. “The best case is gridlock where Hillary wins and works with a Republican Congress, while a worst case is a hung vote.”
Equities faded in afternoon trading as an advance led by drugmakers lost momentum, overshadowed by declines among consumer, financial and energy shares. Procter & Gamble Co. and Amazon.com Inc. were among the biggest drags. Insurer Willis Towers Watson Plc tumbled after cutting its full-year revenue forecast.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index extended its weekly slide to 3.5 percent, the biggest since February. Erste Group Bank AG sank after Austria’s biggest bank forecast lower profitability next year. Commerzbank AG slipped after the German lender swung to a loss in the third quarter. Cie. Financiere Richemont SA jumped as the maker of Piaget jewelry unveiled a sweeping overhaul of top management and its board as it reported a plunge in sales.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index of equities fell for a fourth day, slipping 0.5 percent.
The dollar initially strengthened after a report showed the U.S. added 161,000 jobs in October. The October employment increase was just shy of the median forecast of 173,000 in a Bloomberg survey of economists, while the prior month’s figure was revised higher. Wage growth picked up, a sign inflation may quicken toward the Fed’s 2 percent target.
"It would be difficult for the market to move much given the elections on Tuesday," said Andres Jaime, a foreign-exchange strategist in New York at Barclays Plc. "For the dollar, given that the market is already pricing in a high probability for a hike, it already corroborates what’s already priced in.
The 76 percent probability traders are assigning to a rate hike next month is up from 69 percent on Oct. 28, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index lost 0.2 percent, erasing earlier gains. The greenback fell 0.3 percent to $1.1137 per euro and was little changed at 103.02 yen.
Treasury two-year note yields fell two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 0.78 percent, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader data. Benchmark 10-year note yields declined three basis points to 1.77 percent.
The employment report "was on target, but it wasn’t overly strong,” said Timothy High, U.S. strategist at BNP Paribas SA in New York, one of 23 primary dealers that trade with the Fed. “Given that it’s out of the way, the focus is more towards the uncertainty next week, the election clearly. The uncertainty will bring in some buying.”
The Bloomberg Commodity Index fell 3.1 percent this week, the most since July 8.
West Texas Intermediate for December delivery dropped 59 cents to settle at $44.07 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent for January settlement fell 77 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $45.58 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Gold held near a one-month high as it was caught in the crossfire between haven demand and prospects for higher U.S. interest rates.