U.S. Stock Futures Little Changed Amid Polls Showing Tight Race

  • One new survey suggests the presidential election is a toss-up
  • The S&P 500 is coming off its third decline in four weeks

A Trump Win Is Not Priced in, Says Choukeir

Futures on U.S. equity benchmarks were little changed after opening lower, as some polls signaled the presidential race narrowed after the FBI discovered e-mails that may pertain to its investigation of Hillary Clinton.

December contracts on the S&P 500 Index dropped 0.1 percent to 2,121.25 as of 6:16 p.m. in New York, paring a drop of as much as 0.4 percent. The cash index lost 0.7 percent in the five days through Friday, its third decline in four weeks. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 18 points to 18,080 and Nasdaq 100 contracts decreased 0.1 percent to 4,799.25.

“It’s unclear what, if any, impact the e-mails will have, but the market had clearly priced in a Clinton victory and maybe it’s starting to price it out a little,” said John Canally, chief economic strategist at LPL Financial in Boston, which oversees about $479 billion.

American stocks were again showing themselves sensitive to Clinton’s presidential prospects after the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation indicated in a letter to Congress that the inquiry had been renewed. A new ABC/Washington Post survey conducted both before and after the letter was made public Friday found that Clinton received support from 46 percent of likely voters to Donald Trump’s 45 percent.

Her advantage was 12 points in the same poll a week ago. Other data suggest Democrats in key states are unmoved, a sign Clinton is holding together a coalition that has kept her in the lead for months. A CBS/YouGov survey of likely voters across 13 battleground states showed that 1 percent of her supporters were less likely to vote for her after the FBI disclosure.

Still, with the vote less than two weeks away, Friday’s session offered a reminder that politics are among the biggest threats to peace in a stock market that has been holding its breath for three months as Election Day approached. The S&P 500 tumbled 20 points in about 40 minutes when FBI Director James Comey’s letter became public.

Friday’s drama shifted sentiment away from a week of disappointing earnings in the technology industry that has erased more than $100 billion from Nasdaq 100 Index stocks since Tuesday. Megacap results have been bad enough that the 10 biggest companies in the technology index have declined an average 2.5 percent since Oct. 11, trailing a 0.3 percent increase for the index.

Amazon.com Inc. tumbled 5.2 percent for its worst week since February after reporting a jump in expenses that cut into profit margins. Apple Inc., the world’s most valuable company, fell 2.5 percent for its biggest slump in six weeks after issuing a sales forecast below analyst estimates. Alphabet Inc. lost 0.6 percent in the week.

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