Wall Street settled lower by late afternoon Thursday as uncertainty over Friday's jobs reports and the presidential election next Tuesday came to a head.
The S&P 500 was down 0.44%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.16%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.92%. The S&P 500 has now declined for eight consecutive sessions.
Most investors were holding out for the most closely watched economic report, the monthly jobs report, that will be released on Friday. Economists anticipate 173,000 jobs to have been added to nonfarm payrolls in October, accelerating from 156,000 in September. The unemployment rate is expected to dip to 4.9% from 5%, while average hourly earnings are predicted to climb to 0.3% from 0.2%.
Uncertainty over next week's U.S. presidential election kept Wall Street on edge. Stocks have endured a volatile week after a number of polls showed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gaining momentum in Electoral College and popular vote polls. A Times/CBS News poll Thursday morning shows Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holding onto a three-point lead. The poll noted that most voters say their minds have been made up.
Crude oil was also a major weight on sentiment as fears over a global oversupply persisted. Weekly data out from the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday showed a major build in domestic inventories. Stockpiles rose by their most in 34 years, according to the latest data. Meanwhile, skepticism grew over whether major oil producers, including the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, would come to a freeze agreement at a meeting later this month.