Worries over the looming U.S. presidential election sent stocks lower for another session on Wednesday, even overshadowing an announcement from the Federal Reserve.
The S&P 500 was down 0.65%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.42%, and the Nasdaq decreased 0.93%. The S&P 500 has declined for seven straight sessions.
Conflicting polls have bred uncertainty over the upcoming presidential election throughout the week. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds a small advantage over battleground states in most polls, though an ABC poll on Tuesday showed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump with a one-point lead.
"Trump's election chances have improved markedly since the release of FBI Director Comey's letter to Congress last Friday," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank. "The revelation that the FBI reopened candidate Clinton's e-mail investigation has eroded her lead, and prompted investors to reevaluate their baseline election scenarios."
Safe-haven assets, such as gold and government bonds, rose on worries over the election. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell 1.7% to 1.80%. Yields fall as bond prices rise. Gold rose 1.6% to $1,308 an ounce. The Mexican peso, seen as an indicator of Trump's chances of winning, fell 0.9% against the U.S. dollar.
The Fed left the fed funds rate at 0.25% to 0.5% at its November meeting, noting that it was waiting for some further evidence of progress toward its goals of full employment and 2% inflation. The decision was 8 to 2 with Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester and Kansas City Fed President Esther George the two dissenters.