United States stock market has worst day in a month amid election uncertainty

Stocks plunge in New York

US stock market has worst day in a month amid election uncertainty

The S&P 500 lost 0.3% to 3,390. Cruise lines, airlines and energy stocks tumbled in tandem with crude oil prices.

Stocks also fell across much of Europe and Asia.

In another sign of increased caution, Treasury yields retrenched again.

"It's kind of a flawless storm", said Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird.

In point of fact, Monday's tottering in the Wall St. was nearly entirely prodded by market participants' worries over a second round of pandemic-led business closure, which in effect would simmer the prospects of an economic recovery, while waning hopes of a USA relief bill before the November 3 election day had added to further woes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 650.19 points, or 2.3%, to 27,685.38. The S&P 500 lost 64.42 points, or 1.86%, to 3,400.97 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 189.35 points, or 1.64%, to 11,358.94.

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The Russell 2000 small-cap index gave up 35.29 points, or 2.2%, to 1,605.21.

Global shares were lower Monday amid widespread uncertainty over what the US presidential election will portend for markets and economic policy. In Europe, Italy and Spain imposed new restrictions. Meanwhile, hopes for new stimulus continued to fade as negotiators in Washington remained mum.

Investor sentiment sagged after the White House said a potential deal on COVID-19 relief could come in "weeks", casting doubt on whether an accord could be struck with Congress before the November 3 election.

Caterpillar (CAT, -3.1%) dropped after reporting lower equipment demand for the third quarter, which led to a 54% decline in profits. But even if a deal is reached, it could wither in the face of resistance from Republicans controlling the Senate. Another concern is that possible delays in sorting out the results of next week's elections could end up pushing a stimulus deal back indefinitely.

Check out more earnings previews and estimates at our weekly earnings calendar.

"While we are seeing nations attempt to stifle the spread of the virus through more localized and tentative restrictions, it seems highly likely that we will eventually see a swathe of nationwide lockdowns if the trajectory can not be reversed", said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG in London.

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The U.S. economy's momentum has already slowed following the expiration of supplemental benefits for laid-off workers and other support that Congress approved for the economy earlier this year.

Sectors sensitive to economic growth took a hit, with both the S&P 500 banks index. Markets in Hong Kong were closed for holidays. Stocks of companies worst hit by the pandemic logged some of the biggest losses. Besides Amazon and Apple, Ford Motor, General Electric and Google's parent company, Alphabet, are also on the docket.

F5 Networks rose 8.6% for one of the best gains in the S&P 500 after it reported better earnings than expected. If that level holds, it would be the best since at least 2008, when FactSet's records began.

"The COVID-19 situation is worrying to investors because they are looking across the pond to Europe, where many countries are increasing stringency measures and implementing a variety of targeted lockdowns, and wondering if that is the future for the USA as well, " said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco.

"It's going to be a little bit volatile in the next week depending on the results, but we're not expecting weeks of uncertainty", she said.

Stock benchmarks fell in Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney. Xilinx shares soared about 15%.

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