Futures for U.S. markets were largely flat late Thursday, highlighting the seesaw that's trapped investors between deep worries about the direction of the presidential election and the prospect of a rosy October jobs report, which will be released Friday.
The S&P 500 was up just 0.01% while the Dow Jones Industrials and Nasdaq were off by the same amount at 9:28 p.m. EDT.
Investors have begun to fear the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency as his results in polls improved this week following the announcement by the FBI about the new emails from Hillary Clinton's private server. But economists also expect an increase in employment figures to 175,000 new jobs from 156,000 in September when the report is released.
The election jitters outweighed the positives Thursday, leaving the S&P off 0.44%--it's eighth straight down day--and Nasdaq off 0.92%. The Dow fell 0.16%.
Asian investors also fretted over the election, with bourses there opening mostly lower. The Nikkei lost 1.75%, the ASX in Australia 0.66% and the Kospi in South Korea 0.16%. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong was the exception, however, climbing 0.14%. The prices were valid as of 9:47 p.m. EDT.
European shares also ended lower despite hopes the U.K. may not be able to leave the EU so easily after a court said Parliament must approve the government's application to exit the European single market. Germany's DAX trimmed 0.43%, the Cac in Paris 0.07% and the FTSE in London 0.8% Thursday.
While the court ruling may not have helped U.K. equities, the pound recovered significantly and was up 0.11% at 9:50 p.m. EDT to $1.246. Thursday was the first time since mid-October that the currency pierced the $1.24 mark.
After falling Thursday, oil recovered slightly in early Asia trade with futures for both industry standard Brent crude and West Texas crude adding 8 cents per barrel to $46.43 and $44.74, respectively. The prices were current as of 9:38 p.m. EDT and represent delivery in January and December, also respectively.
In after-hours trade, shares of Activision Blizzard (ATVI) slipped 3.16%, to $42, after the video game maker gave a pessimistic view of the fourth quarter and full year after the markets closed despite better-than-expected Q3 results.
Activision expects to report earnings of 5 cents per share for the fourth quarter, lower than its prior outlook of 6 cents per share. Revenue is projected to be $1.86 billion, while analysts are looking for $2.48 billion.
The company sees earnings of 98 cents per share in 2016. Revenue is expected to be $6.45 billion, below Wall Street's forecasts of $6.57 billion.
For the third quarter, the video game developer posted adjusted earnings of 49 cents per share, beating analysts' projected 42 cents per share. Revenue came in at $1.568 billion, which was slightly higher than analysts' estimated $1.566 billion.
Meanwhile, shares of Weight Watchers International (WTW) gained 4%, to $10.40, in extended trading after the company's third-quarter earnings weighed in higher than expected. After the market closed, it reported adjusted earnings of 53 cents per share, topping analyst estimates of 45 cents per share.
Revenue climbed 2.7% year-over-year to $280.8 million but missed analyst projections of $285.5 million.