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Stocks Drop, Dollar Gains on Election Interference: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) — U.S. and European equity futures retreated with Asian shares, and the dollar edged higher, after a top American intelligence official said that Russia and Iran have attempted to interfere in next month’s presidential election.

S&P 500 contracts dropped, and shares in Hong Kong and Sydney saw modest losses. Treasury yields dipped, though remained above the 0.8% level. Earlier, U.S. shares closed lower after a volatile session amid signs that a U.S. stimulus package is unlikely to become law before the election. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made progress in their latest talks and will speak again Thursday even as the odds remained long for a deal that could pass in the Senate.

Elsewhere, oil dropped below $40 a barrel in New York after an industry report pointed to a surprise increase in American crude stockpiles.

Voter registration information was obtained by Iran, and separately by Russia, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said at a hastily called news conference Wednesday evening in Washington. The information obtained was publicly available, and no hacking was involved, according to a U.S. official who asked not to be identified discussing the sensitive matter.

With no meaningful progress on fiscal policy, markets “are reacting to the heightened political instability that comes with the confirmation of efforts to manipulate the presidential race,” said Eleanor Creagh, Sydney-based strategist at Saxo Capital Markets. “The ability for either candidate to seize upon accusations of foreign interference is heightened and raises the probability of a contested outcome, particularly as the race could be closer than polls currently indicate.”

Meanwhile, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the White House is aiming for a stimulus compromise within the next 48 hours. Senate Republicans remain on a completely different track, and there aren’t enough votes in the chamber needed to pass a multi-trillion-dollar package, according to a Senate aide. Mitch McConnell “might not mind doing it after the election,” Pelosi said.

“We don’t see a stimulus package passed before the election,” Wells Fargo Securities LLC strategist Anna Han said on Bloomberg TV. “We still think the recovery will proceed and in three to six months you’re going to see that sequentially improving narrative and that’s going to help earnings growth going forward.”

Elsewhere, the U.S. escalated tensions with China by adding to the list of media outlets it describes as controlled by Beijing.

Here are some key events coming up:

The final presidential debate before the U.S. election, between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, will be live from Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday.U.S. jobless claims come Thursday.

These are some of the main market moves:

Stocks

S&P 500 futures fell 0.7% as of 1:32 p.m. in Tokyo. The gauge fell 0.2% on Wednesday.Japan’s Topix index retreated 1.1%.Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.2%.Shanghai Composite fell 0.8%.South Korea’s Kospi index lost 1.2%.Euro Stoxx 50 futures dipped 0.6%.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 0.2%.The euro bought $1.1843, down 0.2%.The yen was down 0.1% at 104.71 per dollar.The offshore yuan slid 0.2% to 6.6583 per dollar.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries dipped one basis point to 0.81%.Australia’s 10-year yield added three basis points to 0.83%.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.7% to $39.74 a barrel after sliding 4% on Wednesday.Gold fell 0.6% to $1,913.53 an ounce.

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