THE MARKETS WANT HILLARY: U.S. STOCKS DIP AS PRESIDENTIAL POLLS TIGHTEN

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks edged lower on Monday (Oct 31) as rising uncertainty over the US presidential campaign countered the lift from major acquisitions by General Electric and CenturyLink.

Markets are recalibrating the US presidential contest after the shock FBI announcement that it was reviewing a newly discovered trove of emails linked to Hillary Clinton’s controversial private server, which sent shares tumbling on Friday.

Clinton has been seen by Wall Street as the safer choice for the White House compared with Donald Trump, who is viewed as unpredictable.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 18.77 points (0.10 per cent) to 18,142.42.

The broad-based S&P slipped 0.26 points (0.01 per cent) to 2,126.15, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.97 points (0.02 per cent) to 5,189.13.

Baker Hughes sank 6.3 per cent after it agreed to merge with GE’s oilfield business, with GE garnering control of the venture in exchange for US$7.4 billion in dividend payments. GE fell 0.4 per cent.

Level 3 Communications jumped 3.9 per cent on news it will be bought by CenturyLink for US$34 billion. CenturyLink, the third largest US telecommunications carrier, tumbled 12.5 per cent.

Most petroleum-linked shares retreated as US oil prices fell nearly four per cent. ExxonMobil shed 1.7 per cent, Apache 2.0 per cent and Transocean 5.9 per cent.

Nike experienced the biggest drop in the Dow, falling 3.5 per cent following a downgrade by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Team Health Holdings, a physician services organisation, surged 16.4 per cent after announcing it agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Blackstone for US$6.1 billion.

Medical equipment company Zimmer Biomet Holdings slumped 14.0 per cent as it lowered its full-year profit forecast.