Markets: US election puts a damper on markets

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The prospect of a knife-edge US election kept world markets in check yesterday, with poor service sector data from the UK and China also weighing on the Footsie.

Angus Campbell, head of market analysis at Capital Spreads, said: “Uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the US presidential elections dominated trade putting investors on the back foot.”

The FTSE 100 Index closed some 29.5 points lower at 5,839.1, with basic resource stocks and financials the biggest fallers on the back of a weaker-than-expected Chinese services purchasing managers’ index for October. Eurasian Natural Resources dropped 12.2p to 321.3p, while Vedanta Resources lost 42p at 1,118p.

Disapointing results and a larger-than-expected provision for payment protection insurance (PPI) claims from HSBC pulled the banking sector lower, with Royal Bank of Scotland off 4.8p at 276.5p, Lloyds Banking Group down 0.6p at 42.9p and Barclays losing 3.7p at 237.5p.

HSBC’s own shares were 1 per cent lower as it unveiled a 51 per cent slide in reported pre-tax profits for the three months to 30 September.

Weir Group was the biggest top flight riser as it said it expected to report full-year profits of at least £440 million. The upbeat forecast came despite it revealing that revenue and profits growth had slowed in Q3.

NEW YORK: Wall Street rose modestly last night in one of the year’s quietest sessions as President Barack Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney dashed through a handful of swing states, stumping for votes on the last day of the US presidential campaign ahead of today’s vote.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 19.28 points, or 0.15 per cent, to end the day at 13,112.44 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 3.06 points, or 0.22 per cent, to finish at 1,417.26.