Shares fell in Europe and Asia on Wednesday as jitters over the U.S. presidential election and weaker oil prices shook investor confidence.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX dropped 0.8 percent to 10,444.91 and the CAC 40 of France lost 0.6 percent to 4,443.96. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.3 percent to 6,894.17. U.S. markets also looked likely to open lower, Dow futures down 0.2 percent and S&P 500 futures also off 0.2 percent.
ELECTION WATCH: Investors increasingly are focusing on the presidential race, as polls between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appear to have tightened following last week’s news that the FBI had opened a new investigation into Clinton’s private email server. The narrowing in the race has brought more uncertainty: The VIX, a volatility measure dubbed the “fear gauge” for Wall Street, jumped 14 percent on Tuesday to its highest level since June.
QUOTABLE: “It was always likely that investors were going to be cautious in the lead up to next week’s U.S. election. However, with polls suggesting that Donald Trump’s prospects are improving that caution is translating into nervousness,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
FED WATCH: Aside from the election cliffhanger, the Federal Reserve will wrap up a two-day meeting on Wednesday. It is widely expected the nation’s central bank will keep interest rates stable since the election is just next week.
THE DAY IN ASIA: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 1.8 percent to 17,134.68 as the yen rose against the U.S. dollar. The Hang Seng of Hong Kong dropped 1.5 percent to 22,810.50 and South Korea’s Kospi dropped 1.4 percent to 1,978.94. The S&P ASX/200 of Australia sank 1.2 percent to 5,229.00 and the Shanghai Composite lost 0.6 percent to 3,102.73. Shares also fell in Southeast Asia and Taiwan.
ENERGY: U.S. benchmark oil futures lost 67 cents to $46.00 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 19 cents to $46.67 a barrel Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, was down 70 cents at $47.44 a barrel. It lost 47 cents to $48.14 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 103.55 yen from 104.02 yen, while the euro rose to $1.1077 from $1.1055.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.