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U.S. stocks slide on nerves over election and Fed meeting

A trader works on the floor of the

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Credit: Bloomberg News / Michael Nagle

Stocks fell Tuesday as nervous investors continued to monitor the run-up to Election Day and wait for news from the Federal Reserve, which concludes a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday.

ON WALL STREET: At the close, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 105.3 points, about 0.6 percent, at 18,037.2. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gave up 14.4 points, about 0.7 percent, to 2,111,7. The Nasdaq composite was down 35.6 points, about 0.7 percent, at 5,153.6.

BONDS PRICES: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.85 percent from 1.83 percent.

OIL PRICES: As markets closed, the price of U.S. benchmark oil was down 3 cents at $46.83 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Monday night prices extended their losses after falling last week to their lowest price this month. In London, the price of Brent crude, the international standard, was down 21 cents to $48.40 a barrel.

FED WATCH: The Federal Reserve started its two-day meeting on Tuesday, where it is widely expected the nation’s central bank will keep interest rates stable.

MADE IN AMERICA: U.S. manufacturing grew last month at the fastest pace since July, a sign that American factories are coping with economic weakness overseas and a strong dollar. The Institute for Supply Management says its manufacturing index came in at 51.9 up from 51.5 in August. Anything above 50 signals growth. Production and export orders grew faster in October.

U.S. IN FOCUS: Increasingly, investors’ focus has been the presidential election, as polls between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appear to have tightened after last week’s news that the FBI had opened a new investigation into Clinton’s private email server. The narrowing in the race has introduced a new element of uncertainty into financial markets, something that analysts say is likely to keep trading in check.

There were signs of nervousness in the market. Gold prices rose more 1 percent and the Mexican peso, which has become a proxy for Trump’s chances to win, has been falling steadily against the U.S. dollar since Friday. The peso is down 1.2 percent against the dollar, a significant move in currency trading.

“While Hillary Clinton is still expected to win the final vote, email concerns notwithstanding, next week’s outcome could well be too close for comfort,” said Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets.

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