Stock Futures Flat as Election Race Tightens

Markets Reuters

Federal Reserve The Great Debate

(AP)

U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday due to rising uncertainty over next week's presidential election and as investors awaited the outcome of the Federal Reserve's meeting later in the day.

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Investors were beginning to rethink their long-held bets of a Nov. 8 victory for Democrat Hillary Clinton amid signs her Republican rival Donald Trump could be closing the gap.

While Clinton held a 5 percentage point lead over Trump, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Monday, some other polls showed her Republican rival ahead by 1-2 percentage points.

Safe haven assets like gold hit a near one-month high as investors grew more concerned about the global economic outlook.

Wall Street closed lower on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 closing at the lowest level since July 7. The index had breached a key technical level earlier in the session.

The selloff in equities comes as the Fed holds its two-day policy meeting, with its statement due at 2 p.m. ET. While traders do not expect the central bank to raise interest rates just a week ahead of the election, they are looking for clues that the Fed is set to hike rates in December.

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Traders are pricing in a 73.6 percent chance of a December hike, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.

Crude oil prices fell for the fourth day after industry data showed a surprise build in U.S. stockpile. Oil has lost 10 percent in the last two weeks.

The ADP national employment report is expected to show a gain of 165,000 jobs in October. The data is due at 8:15 a.m. ET.

Third-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to grow by 3.2 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data, ending a year-long earnings recession.

Square, the mobile payments company co-founded and run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, rose 5.7 percent to $11.70 in premarket trading after the company raised its full-year revenue forecast.

Electronic Arts was up 5.4 percent at $82.02 after the videogame publisher raised its full-year revenue and profit forecasts.

Tableau Software fell 7.2 percent to $45.97 after the data analytics software maker reported lower-than-expected third-quarter revenue.

Futures snapshot at 7:27 a.m. EDT:

S&P 500 e-minis were down 0.5 points, or 0.02 percent, with 172,637 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis  were up 1 points, or 0.02 percent, on volume of 25,901 contracts.

Dow e-minis  were down 20 points, or 0.11 percent, with 30,071 contracts changing hands.

 

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Anil D'Silva)