By Joy Wiltermuth, and Andrea Riquier
“If you get a sweep, you have more policy uncertainty, simply because you go from the status quo to new players and it will take time to figure out their legislative priorities and the timeline for implementation,” Bianco said.
Meanwhile, the chief executives of Alphabet Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG +0.52% /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL +0.45% Google, Facebook Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB +0.60% , and Twitter Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR +1.99% took heat during a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing Wednesday about whether social-media sites should be held liable for content posted by their users.
Investors were also wading through the busiest week of the earnings reporting season, including better-than-expected results late Tuesday from software giant Microsoft Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT +0.44% , though the company’s forecast came in shy of estimates . Shares closed down 5%.
“Big Tech just isn’t enough to compensate for election angst and what’s looking like a pandemic winter,” said Hilary Kramer of Kramer Capital Research, in emailed commentary.
In economic data, the government said the trade deficit narrowed to $79.4 billion in September. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast it would widen to $83.5 billion from $82.9 billion a month earlier.
In global equities, the Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -0.40% closed 0.5% higher, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -1.60% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.44% both declined 0.3%. The pan-European Stoxx 600 Europe /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.57% closed out its worst day in about a month, tumbling 3% and London’s FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.30% fell 2.6%.
Oil futures sank, with the U.S. benchmark settling down 5.5% at $37.39 a barrel as rising coronavirus cases dented expectations for demand . Gold futures finished down 1.6%, at $ 1,879.20 an ounce, as the dollar gained and traders sold gold to raise funds for margin calls.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index /zigman2/quotes/210598269/delayed DXY +0.09% a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, was up 0.5%.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note /zigman2/quotes/211347051/realtime BX:TMUBMUSD10Y 0.00% was flat at 0.78%, after traders earlier in the session piled into assets perceived as safer. Yields and bond prices move in opposite directions.
William Watts contributed reporting